Posted on 5/25/2015 by Leslie Davis
If you smoke, you are more susceptible to have gum disease among the many other risks that smoking puts you under. Is it worth having this bad habit when you are going to have bad breath, be at risk for cancer, and most likely contract an advanced form of gum disease? Among the issues of gum disease include the risk of bone and tooth loss - those are two scary risks that should be a motivating factor for you to quit.
Smoking Causes Bacteria
Every person has bacteria in their body. Some of this bacteria is good; it is what helps fight off illness and even bad breath. This balance between good and bad bacteria is crucial to good oral health. Just like a person has good and bad cholesterol - if they have bad lifestyle habits, their bad cholesterol becomes higher than their good and their health starts to pay the price.
The same is true for the mouth, if you have poor oral health habits, the bad bacteria starts to overtake the good bacteria, putting you at risk for oral health diseases, including gum disease. Smoking is among one of the worst oral health habits you can have that will knock the bacteria out of balance.
What Happens with Gum Disease?There are many stages of gum disease and the earliest stage is called gingivitis. This is when you experience slight bleeding in the sink after brushing and flossing your teeth and notice slightly swollen gums. This form of gum disease is treatable as long as it is caught early. If it is not caught and treated early, it turns into advanced forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis.
This form of gum disease puts you at serious risk for issues that include bone and tooth loss. As the infection becomes worse, the gums become more deeply infected. Rather than just having a small amount of bacteria at the gum line, you now have deep pockets that cause gum recession. This begins to give you the look of longer teeth because your gums begin to pull away from the bottom of the teeth. These pockets continually get worse, which means more room for bacteria.
The Infection Spreads
The more bacteria that is present in the pockets, the more likely you are to have receding gum tissue. This means that the underlying jawbone is no longer protected. The bones then become weak, which causes your teeth to become less stable. Over time, you will need either tooth extraction or a bone graft as a result of the bone loss that has occurred.
If you have tooth extraction, bone reabsorption will occur unless you have the tooth replaced with a dental implant - the only tooth replacement option that stimulates your jawbone. This stimulation allows for bone regrowth, which helps to avoid the risk of a sagging face and premature aging.
All of this occurs as a result of your smoking habit, not to mention the high risk of oral cancer among many other cancers. If you stop smoking, you can limit your risk for gum disease. No matter how good your oral hygiene habits are when you smoke, it makes it very difficult for your body to balance the good and bad bacteria in your mouth, putting you at risk.
There are many resources to help you quit smoking today. If you want to get your oral health under control, finding a way to quit smoking today is the best way to ensure optimal oral health.
If you smoke and are worried about gum disease, please call us for an appointment today.
Leslie I. Davis, BDS, DDS, PC
13802 W Camino del Sol Suite 103
Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486
Phone: (623) 584-0664
Fax: (623) 584-1728