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Smoking and Your Oral Health

smoking and oral health
Creative Commons image by Jan Michael Dimayuga

If you smoke, you’ve heard it a million times: Smoking is bad for you. You already know that smoking can lead to lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, and other types of health problems. Did you know, however, that smoking can also negatively impact your oral health? Here are some of the issues that can be caused by smoking.

Gum Disease

If you smoke, you’re more prone to gum disease than the rest of the non-smoking population. One reason for this is that tobacco disrupts the formation and function of gum cells. This can make you susceptible to periodontal pockets, gingivitis, gum disease, and even bone loss.

Quitting smoking is difficult, so if you’re in the process of quitting or not able to quit at the moment, you can mitigate some of the harmful effects to your gums by brushing and flossing well and by seeing your dentist frequently for cleanings.

Tooth Loss

As gum disease progresses, the teeth can become loose. This can lead to losing those teeth. Unfortunately, if you smoke, dental implant might not be an appropriate solution for your missing teeth; they’re more likely to be rejected if you smoke. Also, you’re at a higher risk for developing a dry socket, which is a painful complication of tooth extraction, if you smoke.

If you do need to have teeth removed, do all that you can to avoid smoking during the first few days after the extraction. When it comes to replacing the teeth, talk to your dentist to find out what a good option would be for you.

Oral Cancer

Smoking cigarettes and using chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer. Aside from quitting smoking, it’s important to watch carefully for areas of thickening, discoloration or ulceration in your mouth. If the problem does not clear up within a week or two, see your dentist promptly. Oral cancer is more treatable when it is detected and diagnosed early.

Your doctor can give you some advice for quitting smoking, if you are having trouble. There are patches, gum and other treatments available to make quitting easier and more feasible. We know that it’s very hard to quit, but your  health, which includes your oral health, depends on it.

If you smoke, you might need to come in more frequently, particularly if you already have gum disease or bone loss. Please call us to find out when your next appointment should be.

Call 919.388.3111 to make an appointment or

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