Tobacco Products Put Your Oral Health At Risk

Smoking isn't only bad for your lungs, it's bad for your dental health. You don't have to be a cigarette smoker to be at risk for a number of dental problems. Smoking cigars and pipes can be just as bad when it comes to oral health problems. Smokeless tobacco products are no safer. Therefore, it pays to be aware of the potentially serious oral health problems that the use of any type of tobacco product can cause.

Dental Implant Failure

Smoking decreases the chances that a dental implant will be successful. Because a dental implant involves placing an artificial tooth root in the jaw, if smoking has led to bone loss, there may not be enough bone around the implant to support it.

The success of a dental implant is important since implants not only leave more of your own teeth intact, they can help improve your overall oral health. By not replacing one or more permanent teeth that you've lost, you:

  • Increase your risk of gum disease

  • Lose more teeth if the teeth remaining shift and you develop bite problems, which can lead to cracked teeth and tooth decay

  • Lose bone density in the jawbone, which can lead to the eventual loss of more teeth

Gum Disease

Smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease – an inflammatory condition that can lead to tooth loss. Both smoking and the use of other tobacco products makes you more prone to infections, including periodontal disease.

Smoking causes more plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth. Besides breaking down tooth enamel, plaque buildup may cause your gums to swell. Gum disease that progresses can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. When plaque is left to spread below the gum line, bacteria attack the bone and muscle tissue in the jaw that support your teeth.

Smokeless tobacco products can also inflame gum tissue, causing it to recede. In addition, the sugars that often are added to smokeless tobacco to improve the flavor put you at higher risk for tooth decay. Similar to when the bacteria in plague change starches into acids that erode enamel, the sand and grit that tobacco companies add to smokeless tobacco can scratch your teeth and wear away tooth enamel.

Oral Cancer

Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, you are at higher risk than non-smokers for developing cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, tongue, or lips. The more frequently you smoke and the longer you smoke each day increases your cancer risk even more. Chewing tobacco or snuff increases your risk of oral cancers as well. While fewer people die from cancers caused by smokeless tobacco, the products are still a form of tobacco that can cause cancer or other health problems that can lead to death.

For a local dentist, contact a doctor such as Davis R Troup DDS PA.