Not everyone considers the impact of smoking on their oral health, but in truth, smoking or using any tobacco product can do a lot of harm to your teeth and gums. Many people are aware of the stains left behind on teeth from tobacco use, but this is not the only thing that smoking can do. Many people are also aware that smoking can cause bad breath. But what most people don’t realize is the effect smoking can have on your gums.
When it comes to smoking, gum disease is of particular concern. It is caused by a bacterial infection that makes gum tissue red and swollen. In severe cases, gum disease can cause teeth to loosen and may eventually lead to tooth loss.
Smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop gum disease. The more cigarettes or tobacco products you smoke and the longer you smoke, can increase this risk factor exponentially.
Keep in mind that smoking cigarettes isn’t the only thing that can increase your risk of gum disease. Using other forms of tobacco can also increase your risk.
Smoking affects the bone and the soft tissues of your mouth. More specifically, it actually decreases the flow of blood to the gums which will affect the body’s ability to defend the gums against bacteria. Smoking also decreases the production of saliva in the mouth, which is the body’s natural defense against cavity and gum disease. While both mild and severe forms of gum disease are treatable, once your case becomes severe, you will always have it.
The good news is that the mild form of gum disease (gingivitis) can be reversed. But smoking interferes with the healing process. With the reduced blood flow, the body heals slower than it does in non-smokers. Early treatment and intervention are even more crucial if you want to reverse the damage. If you let gum disease fester too long, it can progress to the advanced stage, periodontitis. In this stage, inflammation continues, and pockets can form around the teeth, providing a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Eventually, as the infection affects the jawbone in that area, your teeth can become loose and fall out.
If you want to find out more about smoking and its effect on your oral health, give Novi Family Dentistry a call today at (248) 946-8611. We would be happy to help you schedule a consultation.