Sinister Effects of Smoking on Your Tonsils

Tobacco use is life-threatening. This is definitely not news. You’ve probably encountered countless cases of irreversible lung damage, cardiovascular diseases and various types of cancers in organs such as bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, larynx, liver, esophagus, kidney and ureter, pancreas, larynx, stomach, trachea, and bronchus. In fact, the harmful effects of smoking are so multi-faceted it’ll take us quite some time to discuss them all. But the point has been made—one cheap stick has expensive consequences.

Among the risks of massive tobacco abuse lie the detriments of nicotine to your tonsils. Though not as well-known compared to respiratory diseases, smoking has equally adverse effects to the first barriers of the oral cavity.

Your tonsils work round-the-clock. These lymphoid tissues are located at the side of your throat, the back of your tongue while the adenoids are located found high up your throat, behind the nose. Tonsils help prevent germs and other microbes from entering the body through your oral cavity and nose. They also contain an abundant number of white blood cells responsible for killing bacteria.

What’s inside the stick?

Cigarettes contain around 7,000 chemicals—the majority of which are highly poisonous while over 60 are known to be carcinogenic. Among these deadly substances is the infamous nicotine, a colorless yet highly noxious compound responsible for smoking’s highly addictive properties. Take a look at this long yet partial list of what goes inside a small stick of cigarette:

  • Toluene – used as an industrial solvent
  • Carbon Monoxide – interferes with blood vessels
  • Arsenic – commonly found inside insecticides
  • Ammonia – known for its use in cleaning products and pesticides
  • Hexamine – triggers asthma attacks, coughing and chest tightness
  • Methane – fatal gas that hampers breathing
  • Methanol – used as rocket fuel
  • Butane – prolonged butane exposure affects the cardiovascular and central nervous system
  • Hydrogen Cyanide – highly poisonous and volatile compound

The first victims

Where does one puff the cigarette smoke? You guessed it right. Of course, smokers use their mouths to satisfy their cravings fully. And as one of the initial barriers of the body and oral cavity, your tonsils are the first ones to take a beating. Smoking inhibits normal salivary flow which leaves you with a dry mouth. In turn, the lack of saliva encourages bacterial growth.

Tobacco also decreases the mucosal immunity responsible for regulating inflammatory cells. As well, the harmful chemicals present inside one cigarette stick profoundly affect the oral microflora, encouraging the presence of bacteria putting your gum and dental health in jeopardy. Studies made in 2010 to 2011 already concluded how smoking aggravates the tonsils. Cases of abscess-filled tonsils and recurring tonsillitis are reported along with risks of post-tonsillectomy bleeding. To add fuel to the fire, your smoking also weakens your immune system making you susceptible to infections.

Dental and gum health

Before bacteria hijack your tonsils, they first take refuge in your swollen gums and plaque-filled teeth. Smoking reduces the blood flow in your mouth while hampering the production of saliva. When this happens, your oral cavity becomes a breeding ground of microorganisms, most of which are detrimental for your teeth and gums. Cuts, ulcers, and scratches take longer to recover. This is also why recovery from dental procedures takes longer compared to non-smokers.

In a more worrying note, smoking leads to inflamed gums and the loss of bone and tissue surrounding your teeth. When this happens, your teeth eventually loosen and become more prone to tooth decay. Tooth extractions might be needed to prevent complications.

Before picking up your next stick, think about your hardworking tonsils. They might be equipped in handling bacteria and germs, but they don’t stand a chance against toxic and lethal chemicals present in tobacco. 

If you’d like to schedule an appointment or ask a question with us at Airdrie Springs Dental, please click here or call 587 317 4161

Common oral issues that can damage your teeth and health

Infections in the mouth happen more often then you may realize. Improper hygiene, vices and physical contact are just some of the causes. Being aware of what’s going on within your mouth can save major health problems down the road from common oral issues.

Some of the simplest causes of problems are also the easiest to take care of.

Tooth decay:

Also called dental carries or cavities. Your teeth break down due to acids that are caused by bacteria. If you have pain while eating, pits in the tooth surface, or dark marks in the tooth; chances are you already have cavities. See your dentist right away to have it be a minor fix.

Regular flossing and brushing along with dental cleanings and checkups can help prevent this from occurring in the first place.

Gingivitis: 

Gingivitis is caused by plaque that becomes attached to your tooth surfaces. It causes your gums to get red and irritated. Left long enough it will cause them to bleed. Regularly going to your dentist for a cleaning is important as they will remove the plaque for you.

Better yet, practice good oral hygiene, especially flossing to make sure the areas your brush can’t reach get properly cleaned. Don’t ignore gingivitis as it will progress to a more virulent strain of gum disease. Isn’t five minutes a day worth the investment to avoid the pain this could cause?

Gum Disease:

a.k.a. periodontal disease, this one makes your gums more inflamed than gingivitis and affects the tissue around your teeth. The tissue pulls away from the tooth leaving pockets where particles can get trapped, causing an infection. If you have ignored your gingivitis before, do not let this one pass. If you are having troubles with your gums, you should visit your dentist immediately.

Once again, good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing, can help prevent this becoming a problem.

Cold Sores:

young man showing cold sore - Poor blood sugar control can cause slow healing, especially or cold sores

a.k.a. oral herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are names for every herpes infection that occur in your body. Oral herpes is the very visible infection that occurs on your face or in your mouth. If your lip starts itching or maybe you already have fever blisters, chances are good this is a cold sore. Cold sores may take two to four weeks to disappear. While the cold sore is present, you’ll probably feel pinching-like pain at the affected area. Herpes will usually let itself show for a period of time with some active cases, but it will also decrease depending on severity. There are medicated creams that can help speed the process of healing the outbreak. Herpes is not limited to cold sores so watch out for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain and headaches as the first symptoms to be concerned about.     

Keeping your lips from drying out by using a lip balm daily can help prevent these breaking out, but discuss options to control them with your doctor or dentist if you get them frequently.                                                                                 

happy smiling tooth at dentist

Taking care of your oral health is simple and easy. Brush after meals and before bed and floss once or twice a day. There are many electric toothbrushes that can help make this a light task. There are also many aids to make flossing less of a bother as well. Regular dental checkups and cleanings should also be a necessary part of your routine.

Call us at 587 317 4161 or click here for more information or here to contact us.

 

 We’d be happy to help put you back on the road to a healthy, happy smile.

Download our Getting Started With Your Child’s Oral Health – A Parent’s Guide for tips and ideas to start your child on the road to a happy, healthy smile.

Tongue Piercings – Are They Right for You?

Dentists often get a bad rap when it comes to telling you what you should and shouldn’t do regarding your teeth, gums, mouth, and tongue. What they say, generally isn’t what the patient hopes to hear. The trend of tongue piercings is one such incident. But, this should be discussed and needs close attention.

Before you decide to get one…here’s what you need to consider about tongue piercings:

  • They can require additional dental work if they cause teeth to chip or break
  • Tongue piercings can cause permanent gum recession, which can lead to sensitivity and even tooth loss
  • Dental jewelry, like piercings, can cause bacterial buildup in an area where millions of germs already reside. It’s just asking for trouble.
  • If you think it hurts when you bite your tongue without the piercing, wait until you chomp down on the jewelry by accident. You can damage your teeth, knock out fillings, and more.
  • Infections can sometimes cause swelling. The jewelry may be stainless steel, but your tongue is not. If your tongue were to get infected and swell, it can cut off your air supply and cause you to choke. Infections that are not treated can also cause the loss of your tongue as well.
  • On occasion, people show allergic reactions to the metal the jewelry is made from.
  • In some instances, you can develop numbness in your tongue as a result of the jewelry. If it happens, it can go away, but sometimes it is permanent.
  • The jewelry can get caught and rip your tongue.
  • You must remember to remove the jewelry for dental x-rays. X-rays and metal are not a good combination.

Dentists don’t want to sound like parents (although they probably most certainly STRONGLY caution their own children against tongue piercings) but warn you or your kids to consider these and the many more factors when looking at getting your tongue pierced.

 

In addition to providing tips through these posts, we’re also pleased to offer a FREE report that offers important dental information. Why not get your copy now? The Consumer’s Guide to Straighter, Whiter Teeth is just a click away. And it’s absolutely FREE.

 

If you need further information, want to make an appointment, or have a question answered, you’re more than welcome to call us at Airdrie Springs Dentist at 587 317 4161 or click here to visit our website.