Save Your Smile: Quit SmokingFriday, February 7th, 2014, 9:21 pm
Along with sticking to a thorough daily dental hygiene routine and getting annual check-ups and biannual tooth cleanings, there is one very important thing you can do to keep your smile healthy: quit smoking!
Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco affect your smile in worse ways than you’d expect. Many smokers are aware of the obvious negative consequences to their smile, such as yellowed teeth and bad breath, but may not be aware of the many other ways that smoking affects their teeth, gums and mouth.
For example, did you know that smoking cigarettes is the primary cause of severe gum disease in the Unites States? Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, and there is a clear connection between smoking and tooth loss.
A decades-long study by the Journal of the American Dental Association found that cigarette and cigar smokers experience a substantial increase in the rate of tooth loss and bone loss within the jaws. This is because smoking causes blood vessels to constrict and narrow, which results in decreased and poor blood circulation all throughout the body, including the mouth. Decreased circulation impairs blood flow to the gums, increasing smokers’ chances of getting an infection or experiencing complications during the treatment of existing infections.
Poor circulation also affects the rate of wound healing in the mouth, as well as its ability to fight off and clear out bacteria. It delays the healing process after periodontal treatment, tooth extraction and other oral surgeries. It also lowers the success rate of dental implant procedures, causing them to be rejected by the body.
Smoking also increases inflammation of the mouth’s salivary gland openings, and decreases saliva production within the mouth. Along with a feeling of discomfort and dry mouth, this contributes to an increase of plaque build up and tartar on teeth.
Another common side effect of smoking is leukoplakia, which causes white or gray patches inside of the mouth. Although not dangerous in itself, the condition can be a precursor to or early sign of oral cancer.
If you are a smoker, schedule an appointment with your dentist to evaluate your oral health and review how quitting can benefit your teeth.
Oral Health in Toccoa
If you would like to learn more about oral health, annual dental check ups or any of the dental treatments that the Wilbanks Smile Center offers, contact us today and schedule your consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you.