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The Link Between Smoking and Oral Health

Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. Dec 3, 2014

A lit cigarette burns against a black backgroundMillions of people continue to smoke cigarettes every day, despite the dangerous health effects associated with the habit. Along with your lungs, heart, and other areas of the body, your oral health is also affected by the act of smoking. Jackson dentist Danny O’Keefe is educated on the oral health issues that can arise from a smoking habit, and offers a range of restorative dentistry treatments that can restore the health of your smile

How Does Smoking Damage My Oral Health?

Smoking can increase the risk of oral health issues that affect the teeth, gums, and surrounding tissue. Some of the most common oral health problems associated with smoking include:

  • Stained Teeth - The smoke and tar can cause tooth discoloration, leaving the surface of your teeth stained and yellowed over time.
  • Increased Plaque and Tartar - Cigarette smoke ultimately changes the conditions within your mouth, from temperatures to pH levels, which can encourage a growth of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, all of which can cause tooth decay.
  • Gum Disease - The increase in bacteria within your mouth can also lead to gum inflammation and gum disease.
  • Rejection of Dental Work - If you are preparing for dental surgery, especially dental implants, your cosmetic dentist and oral surgeon will undoubtedly ask you to refrain from smoking. This is not without a good reason: between the gum irritation and the deprivation of oxygen in your bloodstream, smoking can seriously interfere with the healing process.

Can Smoking Have Long Term Effects on My Oral Health?

In addition to causing more immediate issues, in the long run smoking can also pave the way for more serious and permanent effects on your oral health that are not as easily repaired:

  • Tooth Loss - We know that smoking can cause severe gum irritation and the build-up of plaque and tartar around your teeth and gums. This can hasten the progress of tooth decay and advanced gum disease, which can in turn lead to bone loss within the jaw and ultimately the loss of one or more teeth, leaving you in need of dental implants, bridge work, or dentures.
  • Cancer - Smoking is most often associated with lung cancer, but the habit can just as easily lead to throat cancer, mouth cancer, and cancer of the esophagus. Smoking is in fact one of the leading causes of oral cancer, a condition that can be physically and emotionally devastating.

While these conditions may still be treated through restorative dentistry or oral surgery, the damage caused by smoking can be serious.

Discuss Smoking and Oral Health with a Dental Expert

If you are a routine smoker, there is no better time to quit than today. If your teeth have already suffered damage due to your habit, it’s not too late to get help. Our experienced cosmetic and restorative dentistry team is dedicated to restoring the beautiful and healthy smile you deserve. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. O’Keefe and learn more about your options today.

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