When you’re young and healthy, thinking of losing your teeth seems an eternity away. However, the habit of smoking and vaping can increase this timeline. In addition to the change in cosmetic appearance, physical problems can loom beneath the surface.

Negative Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is when the gums surrounding your teeth become infected or inflamed from poor oral hygiene. While this is not always the cause, over half of the adults in the United States suffer from the disease.

Smoking is believed to be a major cause of gum disease. Periodontal disease begins as gingivitis and progresses through three stages of periodontitis. As the bacteria of gum disease seep into the ligaments that hold your teeth in place, teeth begin to deteriorate and loosen.

Scaling and root planing, osseous surgery, or tissue grafting can help to delay the progress but is expensive and strenuous– proper hygiene to prevent the need for invasive measures is imperative.

Tooth Decay

Once a tooth has started to decay, it can die quickly if left untreated. First, bacteria wear down the enamel. Next, cavities form and infection sets in. Treatment for tooth decay can range from fluoride treatments or fillings to root canals and extraction.

Mouth Cancer

Oral cancer is a risk that is progressed by smoking or vaping. While many believe that vaping is not dangerous, they carry their list of harmful substances– VOCs, heavy metals, and other cancer-causing chemicals have been found in e-cigs. This increases the risk of introducing mouth cancer as much as tobacco products. Oral cancer screenings can help prevent complications.

Signs of Gum Disease

Regular dental examinations are recommended. However, there are certain signs that gum disease is present:

  • Bad breath or bad taste
  • Spacing between teeth growing larger
  • Gums becoming tender and bleeding
  • Teeth are loose

Prevention of Gum Disease for Smokers

Make regular appointments with Dr. Kahn 1 or 2 times a year. A quality dentist can discuss long-term effects according to the condition of your mouth and teeth. They may also suggest:

  • Quit smoking
  • Floss daily
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Avoid dry mouth
  • Limit alcohol

Where to Seek Care For Your Gum Disease

The longer you smoke, the higher your chances of increasing gum disease. Withdrawal symptoms usually last 2-4 weeks while your body heals– consider this a short trip to add better health and years to your life.

It is never too late to begin caring for your teeth. The earlier you begin, the better your chances of preventing oral disease. Fill out the handy online contact form for your initial appointment with Ikon Dental Group if you live in the Plainville, CT, area.