Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss in adults. You may already know that traditional symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease include problems like bleeding gums and swelling – but most of the top warning signs can be hidden in people who smoke.
If you smoke, you could be experiencing gum disease without even knowing it. Your teeth and gums may look fine – but deep below the gumlines, your gum tissues could be detaching and bone may be deteriorating.
How to Know if You Have Gum Disease
Smokers owe it to themselves to get routine dental check-ups at least twice a year. Even if symptoms of gum disease aren’t present, ask your dentist or hygienist to conduct a “periodontal screening.” The screening process will measure the actual attachment levels of your gums and bone around each tooth. Then you can pinpoint specific areas of infection, even if symptoms aren’t present.
Why Do Smokers with Gum Disease Have “Healthy” Looking Smiles?
Inhaling smoke and tobacco fumes causes the small blood vessels in the gum tissues to atrophy. That is, they can’t deliver the blood flow and necessary nutrients to the gum tissues, even if disease is present. When most people would have swelling or bleeding, smokers get gum tissues that are pale or smooth. This can mimic “healthy” tissue, and delay appropriate response for care.
Once gum disease is noted, smokers have an even more difficult time battling the infection. Their body isn’t able to deliver appropriate blood flow to areas of infection, and recovery takes much longer.
If you’re a smoker who is experiencing other symptoms of periodontal disease, such as gum recession, tooth mobility or bad breath – call your dentist right away.
Posted on behalf of:
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
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