Tobacco, Gum Disease, and Bad Breath
Posted: June 4, 2009
We all know that cigarettes cause bad breath, right? As a rule of thumb, the more you use chewing tobacco, the more likely you are to have bad breath. Not only can chewing tobacco cause cancer and other health issues, but it has a strong link to foul breath also.
Tobacco use is indeed linked to periodontal disease (gum disease, gingivitis) because it causes the gums to lose some of their ability to adhere to the teeth. They start pulling away from the teeth and then receding, which exposes dentin and creates pockets between the teeth/gums where bacteria can grow. Exposed dentin is very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, which also makes it sensitive to tooth decay, with building oral bacteria producing foul-smelling sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds cause halitosis, which is one way how tobacco can cause bad breath.
Periodontal disease can take a long time to develop, but bad breath can be caused by tobacco in more immediate ways. Tobacco causes the saliva in one's mouth to decrease, which allows oral bacteria to proliferate. The anaerobic bacteria (that produce the sulfur compounds) can grow out of control without enough saliva in the mouth.
All in all, you will much more likely have bad breath if you use tobacco continuously. Furthermore, you will more likely develop gum disease, oral infections, and even mouth cancer. Believe us on this-- your life will be much easier in the long run if you choose to avoid tobacco.