You have likely heard the warnings about smoking and how it is bad for your physical health, but rarely do you hear about the dangers that it also poses to your oral health. Dr. Liggett would like to inform you of these dangers in order for you to understand what smoking does to your teeth, mouth and gums in order to encourage you to stop smoking.
Advanced Gum Disease
If you are concerned about gum disease and you smoke, you are putting yourself at a higher risk for the disease. Tobacco makes the cells in your gums stop functioning properly by reducing the growth of new blood vessels. This puts your gums at risk for early damage as well as infection because the gums are unable to protect themselves. The more susceptible your gums are, the higher your risk is for advanced gum disease and the risk of tooth loss.
Among the cancers that smoking puts the body at risk for is oral cancer. Unfortunately, oral cancer does not have many symptoms that you can see with the naked eye. This means that if you are not keeping your regular dental appointments with our office, you could be putting your mouth at risk. Early detection is essential to a successful recovery from oral cancer. With more than 90 percent of people with oral cancer being smokers, it is essential that you keep your appointments to allow us to perform a thorough evaluation of your teeth, mouth and gums.
Tooth decay is a serious issue to be concerned with as well. Even though cavities and fillings seem routine, an excessive amount of tooth decay can eventually cause tooth loss. If you smoke, you likely have an excessive amount of plaque in your mouth because tobacco directly affects the amount of plaque buildup in a person’s mouth. The more plaque that you have, the higher your risk is for decay, as the acids build up in your mouth and begin to eat away at the enamel of your tooth.
If you smoke, we encourage you to talk to our office about ways to quit. Even if you are in the process of quitting, we urge you to come in for a checkup to ensure that the health of your teeth, mouth and gums is in good condition and that you are not at risk for gum disease, oral cancer or excessive tooth decay.