Tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease.” — David A. Albert, D.D.S., M.P.H., associate professor at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that millions of Americans per year suffer health complications and death due to smoking and second-hand smoke exposure. It is likewise concluded within the dental community that tobacco use harms dental health. Bad breath is not the only side effect; smoking causes many other dental complications and oral health risks such as:
- Increased risk of oral cancers,
- Gum and periodontal disease,
- Slower healing and complications after oral surgery and tooth extraction,
- Stained and yellowed teeth and stained tongue,
- Missing teeth
- Reduced sense of smell and taste.
Why does smoking cause periodontal disease and tooth loss? Dr. Albert says: “It is believed that the chemicals contained in tobacco interfere with the flow of blood to the gums.” All body tissues, including those inside teeth, need a steady flow of blood to remain healthy. The gums that support the teeth are no different, needing regular nourishment to do their job properly. Simply put, quitting smoking is the best way to avoid the dental problems and complications caused by prolonged nicotine and tobacco use.
Helping You Quit
The dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group know that it’s hard to quit, so we are happy to supply our patients with resources to stop smoking and enjoy better oral health. We are also happy to discuss with our patients how prescription medications may be used to gradually reduce and stop smoking. We also recommend replacing smoking habits with healthier ones, such as regular exercise, increased water consumption, and healthy snacks.
Changing habits and behavior increases the chances of success. If you’re a smoker, do you enjoy a cigarette after a meal? Have an alternate plan — call a friend, take the dog for a walk, or chew sugar-free gum. This is just one suggestion and different methods work for each person. It also takes time to discover what will work best for you, so don’t give up.
Whether our patients are smokers or non-smokers, the Sacramento Dentistry Group wants everyone to avoid the health risks associated with smoking. This is especially important for tobacco users, due to their heightened risk for oral cancers. If you are a smoker with dental issues, such as teeth staining or loose teeth, do not hesitate to visit our Sacramento dental office for a consultation to save your teeth, provide cosmetic dental restoration and screen for oral cancer.