Smoking and Periodontal Disease

Feb 11th, 2012 | By | Category: Dental News, Preventive Care


For Better Health and Teeth, Quit Smoking

By now most people know that smoking causes serious health problems. You may be aware that smoking puts you at an increased risk for lung disease, cancer and heart disease. Well, there’s one more reason for you to kick the habit: your oral health. Research shows that about 41% of smokers over the age of 65 have missing teeth. So how does smoking contribute to tooth loss? It all comes down to periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis or gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that support and hold the teeth in place. It usually starts with mild gum inflammation but can progress to a point in which the gum pulls away from the teeth and forms pockets that collect bacteria. Without treatment, periodontitis destroys the bone and gum tissue, and tooth loss can occur. Gum disease always begins with plaque buildup along the gum line. Common causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, medications that dry out the mouth, and smoking.

How does smoking contribute to periodontal disease?

Regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings will keep oral bacteria at bay and prevent gum disease. However, the best oral hygiene efforts in the world can’t keep up with the damage that smoking does to your body. Smoking introduces harmful chemicals into the body, inhibits oxygen flow to the tissues, and generally weakens the immune system. Therefore, any bacteria introduced into a smoker’s mouth are more likely to multiply and attack the gum tissue no matter how vigilant you are with keeping your mouth clean.

Can other tobacco products affect my gum health?

Smokeless tobacco, cigars, and pipes are just as dangerous as cigarettes. Cigars and pipes present roughly the same risk as cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco products can weaken the immune system like cigarettes, but because they come in direct contact with your teeth and gums, they have the added effect of causing the gums to recede, which invites more damage to the tooth below the gum line.

How can I quit smoking?

If efforts to quit smoking on your own have failed, you may need professional help. Your physician can recommend techniques, over-the-counter products, and support groups that may help you. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that can ease withdrawal symptoms while you are quitting. It is important to avail yourself of any resources available so that you can beat the addiction and increase your overall health.

If you suspect you have periodontitis, or need smoking cessation counseling, call Drs. Denes and Denes at (559) 297-1800 to schedule an appointment. At Fresno Dental Studio, we serve patients from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.

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2 Comments to “Smoking and Periodontal Disease”

  1. […] at New York University suggest that long term periodontal disease infection makes sufferers more susceptible to the cognitive function related to Alzheimer’s. This […]

  2. […] the devastation of periodontal infection or the pain of an abscessed tooth? Dental trauma, gum disease, and tooth decay are all common reasons for adult tooth loss. Losing a molar, or an anterior tooth, […]

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