Cigarette smoking is an important cause of severe gum disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC states that there are 36 million smokers nationwide. Although this number is going down, it still leaves close to 15 percent of the population at a higher risk for dental issues that come with smoking.
Tooth discoloration is immediately noticeable in smokers. Chemicals in the tobacco attach to the tooth enamel and cause staining. Tooth whitening treatments are only a temporary fix to this issue as the staining will continue to happen over time.
Smoking decreases your mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria. That overgrowth of bacteria can result in noticeable bad breath. Brushing your teeth isn’t an easy fix as the issue is coming from bacteria involved in gum disease, open sores, and overall tooth decay.
Smokers don’t bounce back from dental procedures like the average patient. Smoking slows the ability to recover from tooth extractions and other necessary oral surgeries. Healing is a slow process leaving the smoker’s mouth vulnerable to complications.
Smoking weakens the immune system making it harder to fight off gum infection. According to the CDC, smokers have twice the risk for gum disease as compared to a nonsmoker. As bacteria takes over in the mouth, it builds up on teeth and makes its way to the gums. Gums will begin to pull away from the teeth leaving the underlying structure vulnerable to periodontitis where the bone and tissue break down causing teeth to fall out.
Last but not least, smokers are at a high risk for oral cancer. About 80 percent of people with oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers use tobacco in the form of cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or snuff, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The symptoms of oral cancer include white or red patches in the mouth, difficulty chewing, difficulty swallowing, numbness in the jaw, and even ear pain. Early detection of these warning signs can mean more effective treatment.
Your dentist can customize your treatment plan around your developing issues related to smoking, but the surefire way to remedy the situation is to quit smoking. Your blood flow will immediately get better followed by your improved immune system. This will allow your mouth to begin the healing process. Your risk of oral health problems greatly decreases with smoking cessation.
We’d love to help you improve your smile. Call 618-939-4042 to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.