North River Dental Care

Another Reason to Quit Smoking…

smoking and gum disease

Many people use the New Year as a time to create positive goals. One of the most common ones is quitting smoking. The negative health consequences of using tobacco are countless. What’s more, most people don’t realize that smoking can be just as damaging to your teeth as it is to your lungs. For example, did you know that smoking is one of the leading causes of tooth loss? At North River Dental Care, we offer therapies, including deep cleanings, that can help you fight back against gum disease whether it is caused by smoking or other factors.

The research on the negative effects of smoking on oral health is staggering. Researchers have found that smokers are as much as six times more likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers due to the fact that smoking dampens your immunity, making your immune system struggle to fight against the disastrous disease.

Despite the serious issues linked with smoking, researchers from Newcastle University’s School of Dental Services in England have offered smokers some relatively good news: Quitting smoking now can increase their chances of keeping their teeth as they age, which means that it is never too late to give up a bad habit.

One of these researchers, Philip Preshaw, says that while smokers invariably have worse oral health than their nonsmoking counterparts, with appropriate dental care these patients can see significant improvement in their gum health only one year after quitting tobacco. The beneficial results are evident in comparison to those who continue to smoke instead of quit. This shows that no matter how many years you have been a tobacco user, it is still better to quit than to continue.

Gum disease is typically caused when plaque builds up on teeth. Plaque is a sticky white substance that grows from the bacteria and food particles in your mouth. If it is not removed with regular brushing and flossing, plaque causes your gums to bleed and become inflamed. This chronic inflammation is one of the early and main features of gum disease. The inflamed gums eventually cause the destruction and loss of bone around your teeth. Your teeth become loose and your gums may pull back, causing your teeth to move and appear longer than they used to. Eventually there is no way to save the natural tooth without serious dental work, if it is possible at all.

smiling couple with husky dog

Sadly, many people do not realize they have gum disease until it is too late. Gum disease is usually painless and often not discovered until you visit your dentist or hygienist. In fact, gum disease is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss and has even been labeled a “silent epidemic.” According to the CDC, you are twice as likely to develop gum disease as a smoker compared to a nonsmoker; the more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your risk for developing gum disease. Also the longer you are a smoker, the greater your risk for gum disease. Additionally, the treatments for gum disease may not work as well for people who smoke, which means that even with good oral hygiene in place, you are unlikely to outweigh the benefits against the damage done by smoking.

If you are a smoker, or think you may have gum disease, be sure to visit your Fredericksburg dentist, Dr. Bailey. At North River Dental Care, we work hard to help our patients manage their gum disease. Schedule your appointment and resolve to quit smoking today!

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