For many years, it has been known that smoking is a big risk factor in the development of serious health problems such as cancers in the throat and lungs. But did you know that smoking tobacco and other tobacco products can affect your oral health? If you use tobacco products then you are likely aware of the cosmetic effects but you should also consider the dental health problems that can result from their use. For this reason, 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?
If you have been using tobacco products for some time then likely you have noticed your teeth have been stained by them. The tar and nicotine inside these products are yellow in color and stick to the surface of your teeth. Over time these substances build up, darkening the staining into a brown color.
Bad breath is caused by particles of tobacco smoke that stick to the inside of your mouth and teeth. The scent can linger when bacteria mixes with these particles and take on the same smell as the tobacco smoke.
A study conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology found that the most significant risk factor in the development and progression of gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, was tobacco use. In fact, smokers and those that use smokeless tobacco are as high as two to six times more likely to get gum disease, obviously depending on the amount of use. The main reason for this is that plaque levels increase in smokers. Plaque buildup leads to infection in the gum line. Smoking can also hinder the treatment of gum disease. Smoking reduces oxygen levels in the blood which slows the healing process.
Advanced periodontal disease will often cause tooth loss. The infection can attack the part of the jawbone that holds your teeth in place. As the bone deteriorates your teeth can become loose and even 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 will also increase your risk of developing oral cancer. At least 75% of oral cancers are discovered in those that use tobacco. On average, thousands of people die from oral cancer caused by smoking. This is the most serious consideration when trying to quit.
Your Dentist Can Help
Regular visits to the dentist are important to check on your oral health. If you use tobacco products then you should visit the hygienist more frequently as your teeth will need a deep clean more often as plaque builds up faster. Your dentist needs to check that your teeth and gums are healthy. You may be referred for a biopsy if the dentists find any irregularities. This involves taking a small tissue sample for analysis to see if it is cancerous. The surgeons at Fairfield Oral Surgery perform such biopsies. Their office is found in Fairfield, CA providing service for all those in Solano County. Book an appointment now.