The Role Tobacco Use Plays in Your Oral Health
By now, most of us know that smoking and other tobacco use is harmful to our general health and has been linked to increases in lung and throat cancer and COPD. But you may not be aware of the effects that smoking has on your oral health, and there are many.
How Smoking Affects Oral Health
Some changes in the mouth are obvious, such as heavily stained teeth or bad breath. However, some of the other symptoms that can occur are:
- Increased risk of gum disease
- Heavier plaque and tartar buildup
- Increased risk of bone loss
- Longer healing times post-surgery
- Increased risk of oral cancer
A heavy buildup of plaque and tartar increases your risk of gum infections, and smoking weakens your immune system which makes it harder to fight infections. Smokers also have less oxygen in their bloodstream, which can lengthen healing times.
Both issues also aggravate the gum disease symptoms you may already have, and when your body can’t protect itself, you are at a significant risk for severe oral health conditions. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that tobacco users are twice as likely to lose their teeth.
Protect Your Oral Health from Smoking
It’s easy to see that smokers need to pay more attention to their oral health than non-smokers. Maintaining a schedule of preventive cleanings and exams every six months is crucial, and your Orland Park dentist can look for problems like signs of oral cancer during these visits.
Smokers also need to be more proactive with their oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. If you need tips for proper hygiene, the team at Orland Oaks Dental will be happy to review techniques to ensure that you get the most out of your effort.
If the damage has already been done, we offer cosmetic services like teeth whitening, gum disease treatment, and dental implants to replace missing teeth. Please call us to arrange your next dental checkup so we can work together to ensure your good oral health.