3 Oral Health Symptoms That You Can Improve By Giving Up Smoking

Looking for powerful motivators to help you finally kick your smoking habit? Many of the health side effects from cigarette smoking cannot be reversed over night. However, for smokers who successfully quit, there are some oral health benefits that you can begin enjoying almost immediately.  

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After a couple weeks of cessation, you should start to see your oral health change for the better. Here are three of those side effects that can and will reverse with cessation:

1. Bad breath/halitosis.

Bad breath is directly caused by cigarette smoke and inhalation.  For smokers, it is caused by both nicotine and a vitamin-C deficiency. After smoking, cigarette and smoke particles remain in the throat, mouth, and lungs, causing a bad odor to develop and remain.  Smoking also causes dry mouth, which provides a climate that bacteria loves to grow in.  The combination of cigarette particles, bacteria growth, and the lasting environment all contribute to chronic bad breath.

The good news is that by removing all of these contributors, your breath will return to normal.  With proper upkeep, like daily brushing and flossing, there is no reason your breath should not smell fine.  Without smoke and nicotine particles lingering in your oral cavity, it removes majority of the halitosis-causing bacteria, thus returning your breath back to normal!

2. White gums.

Cigarette smoking interferes with the normal function of our tissue cells, causing restriction and further complications inside the mouth know as white gums. While normal gums receive ample blood flow, those of cigarette smoker’s are not receiving enough blood to keep them healthy. This can lead to recession and even bone detachment.  Many smokers notice that their gums turn to an off-pink, white-ish color. This is an indicator that the gums are not healthy and will lead to tender, bleeding gums.  Further, white gums and a white tongue are signs of oral cancer, which should be treated immediately.

The good news is that with cessation, tissue cells can return to their normal activity and increase the blood flow around the mouth and gums.  Although gum disease will not disappear over night, with proper oral healthcare and regular visits to your dentist your gums should return to their normal pinkish color, and any bleeding or recession should stop. If you notice extreme tenderness and sores, it’s important to visit your dentist.

3. Loss of taste/smell.

Food lovers rejoice! This is one side effect that can be reversed within two weeks of cessation.  Smokers experience a dulling of taste and smell because of the hot fumes they breathe in. Smoke is toxic to the senses and dulls the taste buds on the tongue.  Loss of smell usually comes first and as a result your palate is less likely to detect flavors.  Perhaps the most interesting part is that many smokers don’t realize their palate or smell has been compromised.  It’s only after cessation that many notice a change in flavor, smell, and sensation.  Mark your calendar and treat yourself to your favorite meal after two weeks of breaking the habit!

Cigarette smoking causes many negative side effects, and oral health is just the tip of the iceberg. For some, motivators need to be in the near future to make them attainable. These three oral health conditions can be reversed or improved within weeks to months of quitting. Now is the time to start getting healthy and enjoying life to the fullest!

Alexis Goodrich publishes a dental health blog http://www.bestdentistguide.com, and you can also follow her on Twitter for all things dental @thedentistguide

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