Smoking has also been linked to a decrease of blood flow to the teeth and gums, bone shrinkage, teeth loss, and an inhibiting of the production of the right kind of saliva, a serious problem given how crucial a role it plays in protecting your teeth from decay.
By far the most dramatic effect of prolonged tobacco use however is oral cancer, which is 9 times likely to occur in smokers than non-smokers.
If a person also drinks a lot of alcohol, then the risk of developing cancer of mouth, throat, tongue, lips and salivary glands is even further increased.
How Does Smoking Lead to Gum Disease?
Smoking and other tobacco products can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. More specifically, it appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease, and also seems to impair blood flow to the gums – which may affect wound healing.
Kick the Tobacco Habit
Regardless of how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health. Eleven years after quitting, former smokers’ likelihood of having periodontal (gum) disease was not significantly different from people who never smoked.