We all know that smoking is bad for your health. It causes 87% of lung cancer deaths, 32% of coronary heart disease deaths, and 79% of the COPD cases in the United States. Smokers today are more likely to develop lung cancer then smokers from 50 years ago. It is believed this is due to the ventilated filters allowing for more chemicals and carcinogens to be inhaled into the body. Despite warnings from the Surgeon General, smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.
Smoking & Your Oral Health
The side of effects to your oral health associated with smoking include, but are not limited to:
· Bad breath
· Tooth discoloration
· Increased buildup of plaque and tartar on teeth
· Increased loss of bone within the jaw
· Increased risk of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss
· Increased risk of oral cancer
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums which starts with bacteria that forms underneath the gum tissue. These bacteria can affect the bone structure that supports your teeth. In extreme cases, it may cause your teeth to fall out. As bacteria creates tartar and plaque in your mouth it will cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. This also makes you more susceptible to infection. Smoking weakens your ability to fight these infections which leads to tooth loss.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Red or swollen gums
Tender or bleeding gums
Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
Smokers have twice the risk of gum disease. The more you smoke the greater the risk for disease and you also decrease the chance of treatments working.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
By implementing good dental habits, you can help to prevent gum disease.
Brush at least twice a day
Floss often (minimum of once a day)
Schedule regular dental appointments
If you believe you are suffering from gum disease, it is important to call your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment. They can help to determine the best treatment method once they have examined you.
For help to quit smoking call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.