As far as social habits go, smoking is by one of the most dangerous. It damages virtually every single one of your organs, and in the United States, it’s the most common preventable cause of early disease and death. Quitting smoking may be difficult, but as any dentist will tell you, the benefits are well worth the effort. For example, you won’t suffer from dry mouth nearly as often. Dry mouth might seem like a mild annoyance, but it can harm your mouth to the point that you lose your teeth! Keep reading below to learn how.
Why Is Dry Mouth So Dangerous?
Smoking notoriously dries out your mouth by slowing down saliva production. It may sound gross, but saliva is crucial in maintaining a healthy smile. Not only does it make speaking and chewing easier and more comfortable, it also neutralizes acids in the foods you eat, washes leftover food debris and bacteria out of your mouth, and strengthens your tooth enamel so that you’re less vulnerable to cavities.
When you don’t have enough saliva, food particles and bacteria linger in your mouth. In addition to causing serious bad breath, this bacterial overgrowth increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can weaken the structures keeping your teeth anchored in your jaw, causing them to eventually fall out.
Ways You Can Increase Your Saliva Production
To reduce your risk of dry mouth, try the following:
- Sip water frequently throughout the day.
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on a piece of sugarless candy.
- Don’t use mouthwash that contains alcohol, as that can worsen dry mouth.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
- Avoid salty, dry foods like bread, crackers, and dried fruit.
Of course, the most effective way to eliminate the source of your dry mouth is to quit smoking altogether.
Other Reasons to Stop Smoking
Besides improving your oral health, here are some additional reasons to stop smoking:
- Save money
- Fresher breath
- No longer having to step outside several times a day
- No more risk of harming others with secondhand smoke
- Improved sense of taste and smell
- Less coughing
- More energy
- Reduced risk of heart disease and cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, kidney, or pancreas
If you’ve been suffering from dry mouth, try some of the tips listed in this post. Talk to your dentist if the problem persists. Quitting is difficult, but your body and your smile will thank you for it.
About the Practice
At Mt. Holly Family Dentistry, our team of three skilled dentists strives to give our patients the support they need to keep their smiles healthy in between checkups. They are more than happy to provide you with resources if you need help quitting smoking. To get started, contact our office at (609) 267-3230.