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How Tobacco Can Affect Your Dental Health

Most people have heard of the general health risks associated with tobacco use, but what they might not know about is the effect tobacco can have on their oral health. Although cigarettes constitute the most widespread tobacco use, cigars, e-cigarettes, hookahs, chewing tobacco and other forms of usage can carry many of the same risks.

There have been many studies that document the wide range of negative effects of tobacco on oral health, including:

  • Oral cancer and other oral mucosal diseases
  • Periodontal disease
  • Staining and discoloration of teeth and dental restorations
  • Bad Breath
  • Diminished sense of taste
  • Slower wound healing
  • Decreased success of dental implants
  • Enamel erosion, bone damage, tooth decay and tooth loss
  • Oral candidosis (fungal infection)
  • Gum recession

The more cigarettes a person smokes and the longer they smoke, the greater their risks. Perhaps most shocking is the information that those who use smokeless tobacco are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancers than non-users.

In addition, recent research has shown that smokers have double the risk for gum disease, and that their treatments may be also be less effective compared with nonsmokers. In fact, half of all adults who smoke suffer from periodontal disease.

Moreover, statistics show that smokers are twice as likely to require root canal treatment and twice as likely to lose their teeth. Smoking also weakens the body’s immune system and therefore its ability to fight off infection. To add to the problem, tobacco also limits the growth of blood vessels, which slows the healing of gum tissue after treatment or an injury.

Yet, it is estimated that daily, thousands of children and teens become regular users and about 25% of all high school students smoke. It is vital for those who smoke to understand the health risks and for all parents to discuss the dangers of smoking with their children. Although quitting may not be easy, your dentist can advise you about medications and other assistance available to help you succeed.

If would like more information about the ways tobacco use can affect your oral health or for help with quitting tobacco use, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.


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