Are you ready to quit smoking? Have you tried quitting? Do you think about quitting? There are numerous health reasons why cessation of smoking is vital. When it comes to dentistry and smoking, periodontal disease is what lands at the top of the list. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is when bacterial infection destroys gums, bone, and fibers that help support the teeth. Gum disease leads to tooth loss.
Research studies prove that cigarette, pipe, and cigar smokers have a much higher prevalence of moderate to severe periodontal disease. Tobacco use can also affect the success of periodontal treatment. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals and many of them cause cancer. When a smoker lights a cigarette and inhales, these toxins are drawn into the lungs. From there they enter the bloodstream, which delivers them to every cell throughout the body, which cannot defend itself from them. Smoking also reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gingival tissue, and it interferes with healing and makes smokers less likely to respond to treatment, lengthening the time it takes for treatments to work.
Treating gum disease can be more difficult for a smoker because the chemicals and tobacco don’t allow the gums to heal properly. A person with active gum disease may need a deep cleaning, which will most likely require local anesthetic. Some people will need to have more frequent periodontal maintenance cleanings after a deep cleaning has been performed, as often as every 3-4months instead of every 6months. A prescription strength anti-bacterial mouth rinse such as Chlorhexidine may be prescribed. Severe cases might require surgery to remove tartar under the gums, which will require a specialist. Additionally, smokers with gum disease end up having higher costs for periodontal treatment compared to non-smokers with healthy gums.
Periodontal Disease Signs
Swollen or red gums
Tender or bleeding gums
Recession of the gums
If you are interested in quitting smoking, remember there are many local resources available to help. We answer questions from our patients who smoke on a very regular basis. We don’t judge! At Creekside Dental, our goal is to keep our patients educated, improve smiles, and make our patients smile.
– Jasmine Suarez, R.D.H.