For example, smoking increases your risk that you will develop a number of oral diseases that need to be treated by a dentist. The numbers are staggering. Half of smokers have gum disease, and smokers are twice as likely to experience tooth loss or need a root canal. Furthermore, gum disease treatments are less effective for smokers, which may mean even more trips to the dentist.
Additionally, tobacco use increases inflammation in the gum tissue and makes it harder for the body to fight off infection, like that present in gum disease. That inflammation appears to have a relationship with other systemic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, as well, although the exact underlying mechanism is unclear.
Smoking also interferes with the healing process should a dentist need to perform a surgical procedure on a patient. It can increase a patient’s risk of certain complications, such as dry sockets following wisdom tooth extraction.
Of course, tobacco products also leave your teeth with a dingy, yellow appearance and cause bad breath. While this may not be a “health” effect, it is detrimental to your smile, nonetheless. It also can impact your social relationships.
Don’t think that smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative, either. People who chew smokeless tobacco are more than 50 times more likely to develop oral cancers than people who abstain from this habit. Additionally, chewing tobacco can cause extra wear and tear on your teeth.
Do you need motivation to quit smoking? Think about what it’s doing to your smile, in addition to the rest of your body. Call and speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members to get some smoking cessation tips, or ask about this topic when you come in for your next cleaning or exam.