Tobacco and Your Dental Health

We all know smoking is definitely not good for our overall health – the worst effects are on our lungs. But did you know that smoking tobacco also has serious repercussions on our oral health as well?

Aside from the negative effects smoking has on our general health (respiratory system, etc.) , studies show that smoking is also damaging to our oral health and is a cause of many issues including discolored teeth, to gum disease, to oral cancer.

Jim Thalmore a professor at the South Bay University of Dentistry says smoking tobacco can cause our tongue and our teeth to turn yellow. He says that staining on the tongue is also very evident among tobacco users.

Aside from teeth and tongue discoloration, tobacco use can even escalate to more serious oral health conditions like periodontal disease and oral cancer.

According to doctor Thalmore, the most serious of all oral health conditions is mouth cancer. He says it is difficult to predict what percentage of smokers are likely to get mouth cancer, but the death rate of those who do smoke is really high. He says over the last few decades, around forty to fifty percent of mouth cancer is attributed to smoking and tobacco use.

Dr. Tiana Pham, a colleague of doctor Thalmore, recommends going in for a dental check up at least twice a year, and three times a year if you have poor oral health or are a smoker. Dr. Tiana Pham is a dentist at Vibrant Smiles, a clinic in North Richland Hills, Texas. She regularly treats patients who are chronic smokers, and she often encounters patients who have discolored teeth or gum disease as a result. If teeth whitening is not enough to solve the issue, sometimes dental implants are necessary to fix the damaged teeth.

Tobacco FarmThalmore also added that smoking cigarettes does not cause dental cavities, but it can, however, cause gum disease or periodontal disease. It is worth noting that periodontal disease causes bone loss. At first, it will start out as an inflammation of your gums. And as it progresses, the bone supporting the roots of your teeth become inflamed as well. This bone can deteriorate if not treated.

Thalmore adds that there are non-surgical and surgical therapies available to slow down the progress or reverse periodontal disease. But if you don’t undergo proper treatment gum disease will eventually lead to tooth loss and inevitably damage to the jawbone because of bone loss. According to a study, smoking was linked to more than fifty percent of periodontal disease cases.

In any case, the most effective solution is to quit smoking, but if that is not possible, it is recommended to look into therapy to slow down the disease. These are all important factors to consider if you or a loved one is a chronic smoker, and it is imperative to your oral health to have routine dental check ups.