Smoking and Your Dental Health

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Most patients are aware of the health dangers associated with smoking, but many do not realize how smoking affects dental health. Signs of smoking are obvious to the dentist, and maintaining regular checkups, professional cleaning appointments, and screenings throughout life will help detect early signs of more serious health problems, improving the potential for success with treatment intervention. In addition to cleaning teeth and looking for cavities, the dentist checks for signs of cancer, infection, gum disease, and other oral health-related conditions.

Obvious signs of smoking habits are found in discoloration of the teeth, especially in the front where the strongest contact with cigarette smoke occurs. These stains are extremely difficult to remove, and many are permanent when developed over a long period of time. Smoking enhances plaque and tartar buildup on teeth, and this contributes to greater numbers of cavities, especially in patients that are not extremely diligent with home oral hygiene and self-care habits. While flossing daily and brushing at least twice daily can improve conditions, smoking will continue to make things worse.

Obvious signs of smoking habits are found in discoloration of the teeth, especially in the front where the strongest contact with cigarette smoke occurs.

Detecting smoke on the breath, or overall bad breath, can also be a chronic problem for patients who smoke, and can continue for a while after the patient begins the process of quitting. In addition to the odor associated with smoker’s breath, inflammation in the saliva glands of the mouth can lead to dry mouth conditions, which worsen bad breath and support an increase in the harmful bacteria that leads to cavities and gum disease. Receding gums, leading to sensitivity in teeth along the gum line, is also a sign of a smoking condition that greatly affects dental health. If left untreated, the condition worsens to advanced stages of gum disease.

Serious conditions associated with smoking include oral cancer, including throat cancer, bone loss and slower healing. Smoking can make tooth repairs and dental implants more challenging, if needed, and as the dental health conditions worsen they spread to other parts of the body affecting overall health. While smoking is a choice, discussing options with the dentist can make a difference in patient efforts to quit.

For more information on improving oral and overall health, contact Anderson Dentistry at 817-485-2111 today.