It’s not just about bad breath and yellow teeth, although those are two problems that will affect a smoker’s smile. Smoking cigarettes regularly can seriously compromise your oral health, leading to permanent damage and impaired function. Today, we’re touching on three oral health problems that exacerbated by smoking.
1. Increased Risk of Gum Disease
A new study published in the Journal of Periodontology confirms what dentists have known for decades: smoking cigarettes increases the risk for gum disease. According to the study, people who smoke a pack and a half or more per day are six times for likely to have gum disease than non-smokers. People who smoke half a pack or less are three times more likely than non-smokers to have gum disease. Interestingly, people who successfully quit smoking for 11 years had no risk increase. The nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, gum disease is also linked to systemic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. You’ll Lose More Teeth
Smoke a pack a day and after ten years, you’ll have lost 2-3 teeth if you’re a man, and 1-2 teeth if you’re a woman, says the Academy of General Dentistry. Based on two long term studies conducted at Boston’s Tufts University, the evidence clearly suggests that smoking directly results in increased tooth loss. Although the exact cause remains unclear, most experts believe this phenomenon occurs because either:
- Tobacco restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the gums, reducing your ability to fight gum inflammation (gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease).
- Smoking increases the buildup of plaque and tartar which, in turn, prompts the development of gingivitis and, eventually, gum disease.
3. Your Next Stop: Dental Implant Failure
When you lose a permanent tooth, dental implants offer one of the best solutions for replacing it. However, smoking is considered by most dentists to be a contraindication for receiving dental implants. Restricted blood and oxygen flow to the implant site impairs your ability to heal. If the implant post doesn’t heal properly, it will not form a strong bond with the surrounding bone tissue. This usually results in an implant that feels loose or comes out entirely.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible. A healthier smile, free from embarrassing gaps left behind by missing teeth, can be yours if you take steps now to break the habit. Tried-and-true smoking cessation programs, like the one provided by the American Cancer Society, can help you get – and stay – on track.
About Shawn Hofkes, DDS
With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide safe wisdom teeth extractions from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.