Smoking and Its Effects on Oral Health

By John Meola on October 03, 2014

Middle-aged man with hands folded, smiling and showing off his bright, white teethIt’s no secret by now to even the most committed smoker how dangerous smoking is to a person’s overall health. It is equally dangerous to a person’s oral health. It is associated with a variety of conditions, from tooth discoloration to oral cancer. While there are a number of excellent dental options, including advanced oral surgery, which can address oral health issues related to smoking, it is far better for patients to give up the habit, no matter how difficult doing so may seem at first.

At Dental Associates of New England in Boston, smoking and oral health are discussed in detail whenever patients who smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes meet with our dentists for confidential, one-on-one consultations. We believe in providing our patients with straightforward facts about their oral health so that they can become active participants in their own dental care. Even if some patients decide to continue smoking, we feel that it is important that they understand both the effects that their decisions have on their oral health and how best to deal with those effects.

If you are a smoker, we urge you to consider the following facts very carefully and then meet with one of our highly esteemed dental professional for further information.

How Smoking Affects a Person’s Oral Health

Smoking can affect a person’s health in a variety of adverse ways, contributing to such problems as:

  • Extrinsic staining: This type of staining involves the superficial, protective layer of the tooth, known as the enamel. While teeth whitening treatments can generally lighten or eliminate this type of staining quite effectively, the results will not last as long among patients who continue to smoke.
  • Bad breath: Aside from the smell of tobacco on the breath, smoking can contribute to chronic dry mouth, another cause of bad breath.
  • Gum disease: Gum disease is the most prevalent disease among American adults, affecting roughly three-quarters of the population. Smoking promotes the build-up of the bacteria that causes gum disease.
  • Impaired ability to heal: When patients undergo restorative dentistry treatments, the success of those treatments is highly dependent upon their ability to heal. Smoking interferes with this ability, which can make smokers poor candidates for such treatments as dental implants, periodontal surgery, and other restorative dental procedures.
  • Oral cancer: The link between smoking and cancer has been proven many times over. Oral cancer is one of the most frightening of all cancers in that it exhibits few if any symptoms in its earliest stages, when it is relatively easy to treat. Once it has progressed to its advanced stages, it is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. This is why it is especially important for smokers to undergo regular oral screenings.
  • Degradation of oral tissues: Smoking can cause the gums and jaw bones that support the teeth to degrade.

Learn More about Smoking and Its Effects on Oral Health

If you are a smoker and you would like to learn more about smoking and its effects on oral health, please contact Dental Associates of New England today.

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