Dental Tips Blog


Tobacco Use and Dental Health

Posted in Oral Cancer

Even if you are a smoker, you probably know all the warnings about smoking and heart disease, emphysema and lung cancer.  What you may not know is that smoking and other tobacco use also endangers your mouth and teeth.

The first problem that may be seen is oral cancers or oral cancer lesions.  These oral cancers are particularly stubborn to treatment because of the years of lack of oxygen in the area.

The second problem that can occur from tobacco use is gum disease.  There are higher rates of gum or periodontal disease and periodontitis in individuals who smoke.  The lack of oxygen in the gum tissues makes it harder to fight off infection, and plaque and tartar tend to develop more quickly in smokers than in non-smokers.

Other conditions that can occur when you smoke include dry socket after dental procedures, receding gum lines, and higher rates of tooth decay.

Whether you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, your gums, tongue, mouth and teeth are also at risk.  Blood supply is dramatically decreased with the use of tobacco products, and oral health is put in jeopardy.

If you are a smoker and are interested in quitting, contact your health care provider to ask for some tips and strategies.  Involve your dentist in your plan, and until you have successfully quit, ask if it would be beneficial to be seen more frequently than twice a year.  Your dentist may also recommend a special mouthwash or mouth rinse to help combat the increased risk of gum disease.

Your teeth should last a lifetime.  With a little planning and work, they will.

Posted on the behalf of North Point Periodontics



The Effects of Nicotine

Posted in Root Canals

There are estimated to be 58 million tobacco users in the United States. This includes cigarettes as well as smokeless tobacco. Of those users, a large majority of them wish they could kick the habit, and avoid the risk of tobacco-related diseases such as cancer and lung problems like COPD and emphysema. Using tobacco can also produce premature labor or low birth weight infants in pregnant women, and it’s even feared it may also be the cause of spontaneous abortions. Children around smokers can also have secondary smoke exposure and may be more likely to use tobacco products when they reach adulthood.

Oral manifestations of tobacco use range from aesthetic concerns or breath malodor to precancerous or cancerous lesions. Perhaps the most obvious implication of using nicotine products is the result of staining on the surfaces of teeth. Brown stain typically builds up on the external tooth surface, but yellow stain is soaked into the tooth enamel as well, which is not easily removed. Yellow teeth appear aged, giving the person an older looking smile than what they actually have. External brown stain can usually be polished off, but internal stain requires dedicated tooth whitening routines to improve the coloration.

Bad breath from smoking may be due to the imbalance of oral flora in the mouth. Some smokers have something called black hairy tongue, which is an abnormal tongue surface that collects stain and odor, making them suffer from bad breath symptoms.

Dental treatment can be more severe in smokers than patients with healthy mouths. Smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease (gum disease), a condition which leads to tooth loss, as well as being more likely to undergo root canal therapy. Oral surgeries may be necessary if precancerous or cancerous lesions are evident, and should be performed as early as possible to avoid extensive disease therapy.

Posted on the behalf of ToothMasters



Tobacco Use and Oral Health

Posted in Oral Cancer

Most people understand the increased risk of lung disease, cancer, and heart disease associated with smoking, but what is less widely known is that smoking poses a serious risk to the smoker’s oral health.

Smoking is one of the primary factors for developing periodontal disease (gum disease).  This disease can be as mild as an inflammation of the gums, but if left untreated it will progress to an infection of the gums, jawbone, and other tissue.  Tooth loss will occur if the disease is not treated an in addition to contributing to the development of gum disease, smoking reduces the effectiveness of the treatment.

Gum disease is caused by the bacteria in the mouth that forms plaque that hardens on the teeth and can only be removed by a cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.  Plaque that remains below the gum line attacks the gum tissue and causes it to pull away from the teeth.

This allows more bacteria to enter which causes the gums to become inflamed and eventually develop an infection.  The exact cause is not clear, but smoking seems to impair the ability of gum tissue to fight off the bacteria and leaves smokers more likely to develop gum disease.

In addition to gum disease, smoking is known to increase the risk of oral cancer and throat cancer.  Pipe smoking and cigar smoking pose a similar risk of oral cancer, throat cancer, and gum disease.  Smokeless tobacco is just as bad or worse for your oral health than smoking.  Smokeless tobacco use not only increases the risk of oral cancers and gum disease, but also contributes to tooth decay.

Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help maintain your oral health.  Your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening during your annual or semi-annual check up and a professional cleaning can help prevent the development of gingivitis and gum disease.


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