Your Dentist Discusses: How Does Lifestyle Affect Oral Health?

smoking affects dental healthIt takes more than a toothbrush and some floss to keep your mouth in good shape. There are many factors that can determine how well your smile fares over the years, including genetics, systemic diseases, and whether you have an accident that damages your pearly whites. But your every day habits can also have a huge impact on your oral health. Your dentist in Richardson is here to discuss a few lifestyle factors that may be affecting your precious teeth and gums.


Tobacco Use

Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can have a significant impact on your oral health. Here are just a few examples of how this is true:

  • One study found that 38.5 percent of gum disease progression may be related to smoking. When gum disease becomes severe, it may cause tooth loss, significant pain, and systemic health problems.
  • Tobacco use can aggravate dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.
  • Tobacco stains teeth and dulls your sense of taste and smell. Many smokers do not even realize that they have bad breath!
  • Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are among the leading causes of oral cancer.

Sleep Habits

Have you been getting enough rest lately? Research has discovered that folks who get seven to eight hours of sleep every night have a lower risk of developing gum problems than those who don’t get enough shuteye. The reason behind this may be that a lack of sleep contributes to inflammation. When the gums become inflamed, it is known as gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.


Exercise is good for pretty much every part of your body, including your mouth. One study even found that non-smoking adults who followed the government’s recommended guidelines for weekly exercise have a significantly lower risk of periodontal disease than sedentary people. (However, smokers who exercise regularly do not experience the same benefits as non-smokers.)

Physical activity may benefit your oral health in other ways as well. For example, it can help diabetics to control their blood sugar, which in turn makes gum disease easier to manage. Exercise also has the power to lower stress levels, and stress is known to contribute to bruxism (teeth grinding).


A balanced diet is a powerful thing! By taking in the proper nutrients, you can ensure that your teeth and gums have all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. Plus, eating lots of wholesome foods may help you control cravings for goodies that can wreck your oral health, such as soda, candy, and other sugar-packed treats.

Good oral hygiene is only the first step when it comes to protecting your teeth and gums; to keep your smile in good shape, you should avoid tobacco, get plenty of rest, stay active, and gravitate toward healthy foods.

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