Pretty much everyone knows that smoking can stain teeth and produce bad breath. But, many people don’t realize that smoking can affect a person’s oral health in other ways, too. Understanding these effects might just spur you to kick the habit for good, and a smoking cessation program can help you do just that.
Abir Faraj, DDS, of Novi Family Dentistry in Novi, Michigan, has extensive experience treating oral health problems in people who smoke. In addition to state-of-the-art oral health therapies, Dr. Faraj also offers smoking cessation counseling to help patients break free from this harmful addiction.
Smoking and your oral health
If you smoke, your risk for oral health problems dramatically increases, which means you’re far more likely to develop any of the problems described below:
Tooth decay happens when tooth enamel is damaged. This provides a way for bacteria to enter the tooth and cause cavities. Saliva contains natural chemical properties that help keep bacteria at bay. Unfortunately, research shows that smoking alters those properties, rendering saliva less effective in eliminating decay-causing bacteria.
Gum disease and tooth loss
Gum disease happens when gums recede, which allows harmful bacteria to reach the lower parts of the tooth, even the tooth root. Over time, the roots can weaken, and tooth loss can occur. Smoking is associated with a twofold increase in gum disease risk compared to nonsmokers, according to the CDC.
Smoking is a common cause of a specific type of mouth sore called tobacco stomatitis, which is inflammation of mucous membranes that happens due to the combination of tobacco chemicals and heat. These sores can be quite painful, and without proper care, they can lead to serious infections.
Delays in healing
Smoking also interferes with your body’s healing responses, which means it can take longer to heal following oral procedures. In some cases, these delays can lead to infections or complications.
Tobacco products contain up to 60 cancer-causing agents, and every time you smoke, your mouth is bathed in these chemicals. In fact, people who smoke are 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer than nonsmokers.
How a smoking cessation plan can help
Quitting smoking isn’t an easy task. In fact, data from the FDA show that among the millions of Americans who tried to quit smoking in a given year, only about 8% were successful in quitting for six months or more. Of course, being unsuccessful one time — or several — doesn’t mean you should give up. Enrolling in a smoking cessation program can help.
Dr. Faraj understands the challenges facing smokers who want to quit, and she also understands that individual experiences in quitting can be very different. That’s why she customizes smoking cessation treatment to suit each patient’s unique needs, with support aimed at helping you find the solution you need to kick the habit for good.
If you’re a smoker and you want to quit, we can help. To learn more, call 313-646-7903 or book an appointment online with Novi Family Dentistry today.