Smoking: A Real Drag on Your Oral Health

Northampton Dental blog, general dentistry

When it comes to your oral health, few things are more damaging than smoking and tobacco usage. For decades, medical professionals have been documenting the negative effects that tobacco products produce related to the mouth, with breathing issues and lung cancer receiving much of the attention. However, another area of your health that is often overlooked is your oral health. Smoking and tobacco use are a real drag on your oral health by causing irreversible damage and disease.

Periodontal disease and oral cancer are two incredibly serious conditions that directly affect your oral health. Both of these diseases brought about by tobacco use pose the threat of completely ruining your oral health, as well as posing a threat to your entire body.

In its earliest form, gum disease causes red, tender, and swollen gums; this condition is known as gingivitis. This early stage of gum disease is easily treatable and reversible. However, when gum disease is allowed to progress it becomes significantly threatening to the entire mouth. The teeth are securely stabilized by the gums that surround them. When these gums become infected and diseased, they lose their strength to hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease is the severe infection of the gums that causes irreversible damage to occur. Smoking and tobacco products cause the oral tissues to become irritated and vulnerable to infection. Once severe infection sets into the gum tissues, the teeth will become loose and will eventually fall out unless extensive (and expensive) dental work is done. Smoking and chewing tobacco are the leading causes of periodontal disease.

Oral cancer is another detrimental disease linked with tobacco use. Inside the mouth, as with other areas of the body, live antibodies that are responsible for fighting off infection. Tobacco is a drug that kills these antibodies, thus reducing the immune fighting capabilities of the mouth. With every drag on a cigarette or cigar or with every wad of chewing tobacco, the mouth has a negative reaction. With a weakened immune system, toxins leave the mouth susceptible to disease, and oral cancer is one of the most devastating outcomes that can occur.

Smoking is a real drag on your oral health, and all types of tobacco products lead to detrimental effects. At Northampton Dental, we want to partner with you in achieving a healthy smile. Please contact our practice to discuss options for overcoming the damage that tobacco use has caused to your oral health.