We all know that tobacco use is bad for our health. However, many people forget that smoking cigarettes and cigars or chewing tobacco is destructive to our dental health as well. Tobacco and nicotine affect the entire oral health system, by increasing risks for infections like gum disease and potentially deadly conditions such as oral cancer. Abstaining from tobacco use is advantageous to your overall wellbeing and dental health. If you do use tobacco or nicotine of any kind, bring this up with our dentist at your next appointment. This way, we can consider your lifestyle habits when we perform oral checkups and dental cleanings.
Tobacco and Your Gums
Tobacco products contain very inflammatory and irritating ingredients. For instance, cigarettes have hundreds of chemicals and carcinogens mixed in their formulas. The irritating nature of smoke and byproducts from smokeless tobacco can negatively affect soft oral tissues—especially the gums. Tobacco products contribute to gum disease by inflaming the gingiva. Inflamed gingiva is more prone to becoming diseased. Moreover, gums recede from teeth when inflamed. Gum recession exposes the roots of teeth to debris and bacteria that contribute to dental caries.
Gum Disease and Your Dental Health
Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common and severe threats to oral health. Those who smoke or chew tobacco have an increased risk for developing periodontal disease. Gum disease is the most common culprit behind tooth loss. This is because this condition destroys the gums and bone, and both of these structures support teeth. Lastly, periodontal disease involves a serious oral infection that can enter the bloodstream. Recent studies have shown that gum disease might contribute to cardiovascular problems, stroke, and impaired immunity.
Oral cancer is serious health condition. Since tobacco products contain carcinogens, those who use tobacco increase their risks for developing malignancies in the oral cavity. Since early detection is important for protecting one’s health, we recommend that patients have annual oral cancer screenings.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with our dentist!