Amelia Grant

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Author: AmeliaGrant

Oral Health Risks Associated With Smoking

When you smoke, your mouth is the first portion of your body exposed to tobacco's damaging effects. This exposure may raise your chance of acquiring a variety of oral health issues, including gum disease. Smoking can also slow the healing process when you undergo dental care for these problems.

Quitting smoking, or even cutting back, can greatly reduce your risk of gum disease and other disorders. It's also vital to have frequent check-ups so your dentist can detect early indicators of a problem and address it before serious harm occurs.

How Does Smoking Create Gum Disease?
Smoking causes gum disease in numerous ways. Tobacco contains chemicals that inhibit saliva production, which is necessary for cleaning and sanitizing the mouth. This permits more plaque to accumulate on teeth.

Smoking alters the activity of gum tissue cells as well as the body's response to infection, increasing the likelihood of gum disease development. Smoking also lowers blood flow to the gums. This means that infected gums are less prone to bleed, perhaps leaving gum disease undiscovered for longer. This also has an impact on the effectiveness of gum disease therapies and slows the healing of diseased gums.

Smokers are also more prone to develop acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, a type of gum disease that can cause discomfort, poor breath, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Effects of Smoking on Oral Health
Tooth decay
Bacteria that cause gum disease can also cause dental decay. This occurs when bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and other carbohydrates in your mouth, producing an acid that wears away tooth enamel, eventually resulting in cavities.

Cavities and tooth pulp infections might develop faster in smokers. This is because smoking lowers saliva flow, which slows plaque buildup and neutralizes plaque acids. As a result, smokers are more likely to require fillings and root canal therapy to close cavities and eliminate infection.

Gum recession
When plaque accumulates on teeth and gums, germs can travel beneath the gum line, affecting tooth structures and surrounding gum tissues. As a result, gums may begin to wear down or pull back, exposing more of the tooth or dental root. As the gums recede, pockets may form between the teeth and the gum line, allowing infection to accumulate more easily.

Tooth loss
Untreated tooth decay, periodontitis, or a tooth pulp infection may eventually result in tooth loss. This can occur if a tooth or its supporting components are significantly damaged and the tooth becomes loose or falls out or if your dentist recommends extracting and replacing a damaged tooth to prevent the infection from spreading to nearby teeth and gums.

Missing teeth can create a variety of problems, including impaired chewing and speaking abilities, alignment concerns, poor nutrition and digestion, and a sagging facial expression. If you are missing one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend dental implants, a bridge, or dentures.

Bone loss
Untreated gum disease induced by smoking, like tooth loss, can also cause jaw bone loss. This is because the jaw bone is dependent on natural teeth and dental roots to be healthy. If there is nothing to stimulate the jaw bone when chewing food, it begins to shrink.

Oral cancer
Oral or mouth cancer refers to various malignancies that occur in or around the mouth, such as the cheek, lip, or tongue. Smoking is the leading risk factor for oral cancer, and smoking mixed with heavy alcohol consumption might increase your risk even more.

Your dentist should do an oral cancer screening every three years if you are under 40 and every 12 months if you are beyond 40. Early identification is critical to defeating oral cancer with good therapy. Ulcers or red or white areas in your mouth that linger for more than a week may be indicators of oral cancer.

Complications after dental procedure
Smoking and tobacco use affect the immune system and can impair your mouth's capacity to heal following dental surgery. Smokers are more prone to develop discomfort and other issues following oral surgery, such as dry sockets after a tooth extraction.

Similarly, smokers who undergo dental implant surgery to replace lost teeth are more likely to experience implant failure because smoking interferes with the healing process. Dental implant patients are always urged to quit smoking before beginning treatment.


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