How Exactly Does Smoking Affect Oral Health?

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Blogs | 0 comments

While smoking has been found to lead to various unhealthy consequences, it also has been linked with resulting in poor oral health.

Smoking and tobacco-based products have been shown to result in gum disease. It damages bone and soft tissue of teeth and interferes with the functioning of gum tissue cells. This leaves smokers more susceptible to infections, including periodontal disease, and also tends to lessen blood flow to the gums, which would hinder wound healing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association published results showing that cigar smokers have experienced tooth loss and alveolar bone loss, which is the bone within the jawbone responsible for anchoring teeth. The rate at which bone and tooth are loss for cigar smokers are very similar to cigarette smokers. Pipe smokers also are in danger of tooth loss; moreover, they are also at risk for oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancer, even if the smoke is not inhaled. Other oral health consequences included halitosis, stained teeth, and gum disease.

While some smokers believe that using smokeless tobacco products tend to be safer, that is not the case. Similar to cigars and cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, contain at least 28 chemicals that have shown to increase the risk of oral cancer, along with cancer of the throat and esophagus. Smokeless tobacco can also irritate gum tissue, leading to the receding and pulling away of teeth. When gum tissue recedes, teeth roots are left more exposed, which increases the chance for tooth decay to occur. The Journal of the American Dental Association also showed that chewing tobacco users were four times more likely than nonusers to have tooth decay. Smokeless tobacco also contains sand and grit, which can easily wear down teeth.

Even though you may be a tobacco product user, it is never too late to quit. Studies have shown that 11 years after quitting, former smokers were found to have risks of developing gum disease that were not too different from those who had never smoked. Cutting out tobacco products can truly lead to healthier oral health. Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.


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