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Smoking and Tobacco: How Is Your Dental Health at Risk

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If you are a smoker or tobacco user, you already know that tobacco use of any kind will stain your teeth. But did you know that the problems with your dental health go far beyond what your teeth look like? Smoking and tobacco use can affect your dental health in a number of ways.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, and it is a leading cause of tooth loss. There are a lot of treatments available for gum disease, but they are less effective in smokers and tobacco users. In fact, smoking can lower your body’s immune system so that you can’t fight off the infection. It also makes it more difficult for your gums to heal with treatment.

Plaque and Tartar

Smoking and tobacco use can also lead to increased plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque and tartar stick to the surface of your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can lead to losing the tooth. If you want to protect your teeth from harm, you should quit smoking and see a dentist regularly.

Increases Risk of Oral Cancer

According to recent statistics, about 90 percent of patients with oral cancer were smokers or other tobacco users. Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancers of the mouth, throat, and lips than nonsmokers.

Increases Risk of Tooth Loss

In addition to risking losing teeth with gum disease, new research studies show that smokers are more likely to have missing or lost teeth. According to the study, male smokers are 3.6 times more likely to lose teeth than male nonsmokers, and female smokers are 2.5 times more likely to lose teeth than female nonsmokers. 

Other Ways Smoking Affects Dental Health

There are several other ways that smoking affects your dental health including:

  • Bad breath
  • Inflammation of the salivary glands on the roof of the mouth
  • Increased risk of bone loss in the jaw

Smoking can also make it difficult to heal from dental procedures such as extractions, gum disease treatment, or oral surgery. Smoking immediately after a tooth extraction can cause dry socket, a debilitating infection that needs immediate treatment.

If you are a smoker or other tobacco user, it is of the utmost importance that you stay on top of your dental health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for examination and cleaning, and we can develop a treatment plan for you with your needs in mind.

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