Certainly, everyone is aware of the warning label that comes on every package of cigarettes, and the smoking-related disease most people think of when they read that warning is likely lung cancer. But the truth is that smoking and tobacco use is also a major cause of periodontal (gum) disease. Continued smoking and tobacco use, along with gum disease, can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Tobacco Use and Oral Health
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that grows in the dental plaque that forms on the teeth and destroys the soft tissue and bone in your mouth. As gum infection worsens, the gum tissue breaks down and pulls away from your teeth, forming pockets. Studies have shown that smoking tobacco products means gum disease worsens more quickly. Treatment of gum disease is also more difficult in smokers because smoking hinders the healing process. Although researchers are still studying the effect of smoke on mouth tissue, they believe that smoking impacts how gum disease responds to treatments. It may be that there is a reaction because of all the chemicals that are present in tobacco.
Tobacco use other than cigarette smoking, such as cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco, also put users at higher risk for developing problems with gums, as well as oral cancer and tooth loss.
Other Oral Health Problems Linked to Tobacco Use
The biggest threat to the health of tobacco users is cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop certain types of mouth and throat cancers. And the risk does not stop there: Cancers of the lungs, larynx, esophagus, bladder, and kidneys are also linked to tobacco use, as are cancers of the gums, cheek, and lips.
For those who have lost their teeth and had them replaced with dental implants should also know that smoking will increase the risk that the implant procedure will fail.
The Good News About the Surgeon General’s Warning
The good news about the warning on tobacco products is that those who heed it and quit using tobacco will greatly reduce their risks for gum disease and other problems that arise from tobacco use. Even a reduction in tobacco use is believed to give people an advantage when it comes to their health.
Let our Elk Grove Village Office Help!
If you are struggling to quit smoking or to stop using tobacco products, ask your dentist in Elk Grove Village to show you just how your habit is influencing your oral health. Call the Elk Grove Smile Center and let us help you break a bad habit!