For decades now, people have understood the damaging effects that smoking has on their health – despite the fact that many people continue to smoke. While lung cancer and throat cancer are horrible diseases with direct links to nicotine use, there are also serious oral health issues that people need to be aware of.
Periodontal disease is the infection of the gums that is caused by plaque buildup along the gum line. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, and its symptoms include tender, swollen gums that bleed easily. Gingivitis is often reversible when it is caught and treated in its earliest stages. However, for those who smoke this is generally not the case. Smoking makes the effects of gingivitis worse because it causes more significant irritation to the gums. In fact, smoking leads to much worse and faster damage because the gums of a smoker are often so irritated by nicotine and tobacco that they are considered to be an open wound. Open wounds easily absorb bacteria-laden plaque at the gum line, allowing infection to begin to spread throughout the mouth, throat, and entire body. Smoking also reduces the power of the immune system, reducing the antibodies necessary to fight off infection from all kinds of diseases.
Oral cancer – which includes lip cancer, cancer of the tongue, cancer of the cheeks, and throat cancer – are all serious life-threatening diseases that are directly linked to smoking and tobacco use.
Halitosis is another negative side effect from tobacco use. Continual bad breath that cannot be masked by mouthwash, tooth paste, or chewing gum is a real drag on your social life. Halitosis makes it difficult for others to be in close proximity because of the foulness of your breath.
It is also no secret that continual use of tobacco and smoking causes discoloration of the teeth and premature aging of the face.
Smoking, and any other tobacco usage, is a real drag on your health and your life. At Group Health Dental, we want to help you break the habit of smoking and the addiction of tobacco. We want to promote optimal health for your mouth and entire body. Please call our practice today to schedule an appointment for a deep cleaning and ways to kick the habit.