It should come to no surprise that smoking is bad for your health. You may be well aware of its effects on your lungs and heart, but did you know that smoking can also wreak havoc on your oral health? Beyond stained teeth and bad breath, smoking greatly increases your chances for gum disease. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and premature birth. In short, this is not a condition that you want to put yourself at risk for.
How does smoking cause gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection within your gum and bone tissues. Once the infection sets in, it can inflame the gums and eventually cause them to pull away from your tooth roots and create deep pockets. If not treated, gum disease can eventually destroy the surrounding bone, and your teeth will consequently lose their stability.
Smoking disrupts how your gum cells function. Not only does it increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth, but nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. This means that there is a decrease in blood flow to your gums if you smoke. Therefore, you may have infected gums and not even know it. The average patient may notice swollen or bleeding gums as the first signs of gum disease, and at a stage that it is most easily treated and reversed. However, smoking can prevent these telltale signs from appearing and the disease can worsen to produce more serious consequences. In addition, smoking can also accelerate the erosion or destruction process of gum disease. In fact, research has indicated that smokers are 3 to 6 times more likely to have damaged gums.
How else does smoking harm your dental health?
Smoking can inhibit the healing process within your mouth. This can make it a challenge to treat other oral health problems. It is imperative that you kick your smoking habit before oral surgery or getting dental implants. Last but certainly not least, smoking increases your risk for oral cancer.
If you want to protect your oral health, make every effort to break your smoking habit sooner rather than later. Even cutting back can help. Some people falsely assume that other tobacco products like smokeless tobacco are better for their oral health. The truth is that chewing tobacco contains cancer-causing chemicals and more nicotine then cigarettes. It can be more addictive as well.
At Carolina Commons Dentistry, we are happy to help you overcome your smoking addiction for the sake of your smile. If you’ve recently kicked the habit and have suffered the consequences within your mouth, we can help. Our office offers teeth whitening, gum disease therapy and oral cancer screenings to restore the appearance and health of your smile.
Posted on behalf of Carolina Commons Dentistry