New Study Shows That Smoking Can Destroy Your Oral Health!
Written by: Justin Cowart
We all know what the ravages of smoking can do to our bodies; people mostly tend to focus on lung damage. That is very understandable, as you need those to live – the better condition they are in, the better you can get life-giving air into your system.
BUT were you aware that smoking can have a huge impact on your oral health as well?
Before you say it, I am not talking about plaque and tar build up; I am talking about the oral microbiome of your mouth. There is a mix of about 600 different bacterial species that live in your mouth alone!
There are tons of other issues that come about when you choose to smoke. Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation, increasing your risk of developing conditions such as:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack
- Peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels)
- Cerebrovascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain)
Just in the past couple of months, I have personally been able to quit smoking. It was not an easy road for me. I picked up smoking within the first year of my military career back in 2005. I got up to smoking 2 packs or more a day.
My wife would complain that my mouth smelled rotten, no matter how many times I brushed my teeth – it got to the point where she sometimes just wouldn’t kiss me at all. By that point, I knew something to change!
What finally helped me to quit was when I realized that smoking was actually controlling me. After a meal or a movie, I would say, “man, now I need a cigarette.” I actually had myself convinced that I needed cigarettes in order to get by.
Once I realized that I had given my addiction all the power, when the craving would start to come up, I would wait until it was on my terms and I even changed the way my thought process went by saying instead, “I would like to have one.”
After implementing just that miniscule little phrase, I started smoking less and less. But it wasn’t the only motivator; I also had the support of my family and a drastic change in diet. Before I knew it, I was able to quiet and I no longer get a single craving.
Researchers, who were from the NYU Langone Medical Center, struck out to conduct a study where they found that the oral microbiome of smokers completely differed significantly from people who had quit smoking and people who never had smoked.
Luckily though, the researchers also were able to find out that the people who were able to quit smoking (even for those who had smoked for at least 10 years) had their oral microbiome return to normal and even look just as healthy as the oral health of someone who has never smoked.
Jiyoung Ahn, PhD, senior investigator and epidemiologist says,
“Our study is the first to suggest that smoking has a profound impact on the oral microbiome.”
As for your oral health, there are more than 150 different bacterial species that had shown a significant increase in growth within the mouth of smokers, while 70 other people showed a drastic decrease in growth. For instance, smokers had a lot fewer species of what is called proteobacteria (around 4.6% in their mouths) than nonsmokers (11.7%).
What exactly is proteobacteria?
It is bacteria that is strongly involved in the breaking down of the horrible toxic chemicals that are introduced into your mouth by smoking. According to the study, smokers also had 10% more species of bacteria called streptococcus, which is known to promote tooth decay.
Ahn goes on to say,
“Further experiments will be needed, however, to prove that these changes weaken the body’s defenses against cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke, or trigger other diseases in the mouth, lungs, or gut.”
After I stopped smoking, it wasn’t just my overall oral health that increased; there are so many other wonderful benefits that you get back as well after you stop smoking.
For example, I can smell better than I was ever able to, I have way more energy than I did before and I can taste food without drowning it in salt and pepper. I also tend to get a few more kisses from my wife just because my oral health is better and doesn’t smell rotten anymore.
If you are a smoker, no matter how long, if you want to make the change and quit smoking, I just want you to know it isn’t as hard as you may think it is. It is possible to make a change and overcome the addiction. You have my support as well as the support of the whole Fitlife team!
We would love to hear what you thought about the study that was conducted and if you have been able to quit smoking – we would love to hear your story!
Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
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