Smoking and Your Dental Health

 north Austin dentistApart from the visual damage caused to teeth from smoking, there are many dental health issues that stem from smoking behaviors and a dentist will encourage smoking patients to quit for improved overall oral health. Visual signs of smoking are hard to conceal, including but not limited to stained and discolored teeth, chronic bad breath, abnormal tartar buildup on teeth, receding gums, and a condition known as “smoker’s lip” that occurs over time resembling a burn.

Receding gums expose the more sensitive parts of teeth that should remain protected by health gum tissue. When the gums recede, teeth often develop sensitivity, especially to hot and cold temperatures, but also to contact. The lost gum tissue can include periodontal disease such as gingivitis, as well. It is estimated that smoking accounts for approximately half of all gum disease cases. These and other related symptoms are observed by a dentist at routine checkups and standout as obvious signs of smoking in a patient. 

Apart from the visual damage caused to teeth from smoking, there are many dental health issues that stem from smoking behaviors…

Smoking increases the bacteria in the mouth, allowing an increase in cavities, sores, bad breath, infection and disease.  While these can occur in non-smoking patients, they tend to occur more readily and progress more rapidly in smokers. Moreover, the taste buds can be altered from smoking, causing a decrease in taste sensation or altered taste sensation. A dentist can discuss these details with individual patients to assess the current state of overall oral and dental health, and help establish a plan to quit.

In more severe cases, oral cancers can occur from the damage caused by cigarette smoking. Teeth shifting or movement, bone loss in jawbones, missing teeth, and slower healing rates are also seen in lifelong smokers. Tobacco products reduce the flow of oxygenated blood to the gums and inhibit the ability to maintain dental and oral health. This is seen in cigarette smokers, but also in users of chewing tobacco, pipe smokers, cigar smokers, and drug users, recreational or otherwise.

For information on smoking cessation and improving dental health, contact our caring dental specialists at 512-200-7422 today.

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