It's no secret that smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or any other tobacco products is bad for your teeth and gums. Clearly, the best thing you can do for your dental health as a smoker is quit smoking. But what if that is not an option? How can you take better care of your teeth and gums as you continue to smoke? Here are a few ideas.
1. Use a tongue cleaner.
In addition to brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day, try using a tongue cleaner to scrape your tongue. Rinse your mouth out afterwards. The tongue cleaner removes plaque and also any tobacco residue from your tongue so that it cannot be re-deposited on your teeth. If you gag when using the tongue cleaner at first, give yourself a little time to get used to it. Within a week or two, you should get used to the feeling.
2. Rinse your mouth out after smoking.
Keep a water bottle on hand at all times. After you smoke, make sure you rinse your mouth out with some water and spit it out. This will remove the tobacco residue from your teeth -- at least most of it -- so the chemicals in it do not keep eroding your tooth enamel or feeding oral bacteria that cause gum disease.
3. Schedule professional cleanings.
Professional tooth cleaning appointments are important for everyone, but especially for smokers. A dental hygienist can remove hardened plaque that you could not get rid of with brushing alone. They will also make sure your gumline is clean, which is very important since smoking increases your risk of gum disease. Go to a dentist at a clinic like Affordable Dental Care for a cleaning at least every 6 months. If they tell you that you have signs of gum disease, they may want to see you as often as every three months for cleanings.
4. Buy toothpaste for smokers.
There are some toothpastes made specifically for smokers. These contain stronger compounds to remove tobacco stains, and they may also contain a little extra fluoride to help guard against enamel damage. If you are struggling to find a good toothpaste for smokers, ask your dentist for recommendations.
Smoking is not good for your teeth, so do put your best effort into quitting. In the meantime, however, use the tips above to reduce your chances of dental ailments -- and make sure you tell your dentist you are a smoker so they know to keep a closer eye on your teeth.