It’s a well-established fact that smoking increases the risk of developing serious health problems such as cancers in the throat and lungs. However, less reported on, is the effect that smoking and tobacco products can have on your oral health. If you use tobacco products then you will likely be aware of the visible damage that smoking causes. There are of course some serious dental health problems that can develop too. Becoming aware may be the motivation you need to quit smoking.
This article will clearly emphasize why it’s not just your health care provider that will want to see you quit smoking but also your dentist.
What Effects Will Smoking Have On My Oral Health?
Tobacco products are well known for staining your teeth. Substances inside the smoke such as tar and nicotine are responsible for the yellow color staining on the teeth. Over time the staining can turn brown.
Particles of smoke that stick to the inside of your mouth and teeth are the causes of bad breath. When bacteria mixes with these particles they take on the same smell as the smoke.
The American Academy of Periodontology discovered in a study that the greatest risk factor in the development and progression of periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, was tobacco use. You are as high as two to six times more likely to get gum disease if you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, depending on the amount of use. This is mainly due to increased plaque levels in smokers. High levels of plaque cause infection in the gum line. Smoking can also work against the treatment of gum disease. Oxygen levels in the blood are lower in those that smoke which slows down the healing process.
Advanced gum disease will often cause tooth loss. The infection affects the gum tissue around the teeth and deteriorates the part of the jawbone that holds your teeth in place. As the bone weakens, your teeth will become loose and possibly fall out. Gum disease has also been linked to other health conditions such as strokes, complications in pregnancy, heart attacks, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Smoking is Linked With Oral Cancer
Smoking and smokeless tobacco are known to significantly increase your risk of developing cancer in the mouth. At least 75% of oral cancers are diagnosed in those that use tobacco. On average, thousands of people die every year from oral cancer caused by smoking. A serious consideration when considering whether to quit.
Your Dentist Can Help
Visiting the dentist regularly is important to keep on top of your oral health. Visits to the dentist and hygienist should be more frequent if you use tobacco products. Plaque builds up faster and will need to be removed during a deep clean. Your dentist also needs to check that your teeth and gum tissue are healthy. Any irregularities may be referred to for a biopsy.
This is where a small tissue sample is taken for examination. The surgeons at Novato Oral Surgery and Implantology perform such biopsies. Their office is found in Novato, CA providing service for all those in the Marin County area and surrounding San Francisco Bay region. Book an appointment now.