Straight from the Mouths of Smokers
As more and more research gets released on the negatives health consequences of smoking, it comes to no surprise that oral health is on the front lines of assault in the mouths of smokers. The mouths of people who smoke are a difficult terrain for even the most experienced dentist to navigate. Patients who smoke up to a half a pack a day are 6 times more likely to suffer from Periodontal disease than those who abstain from smoking. Most procedures, like dental implants, which normally have a 95% success rate, are at a high risk of failing in smokers vs. nonsmokers. So before you pick up another pack, think about these few things:
1. Periodontal disease is a very real problem. Although most adults, at some point in their life, will suffer from some form of this, the likelihood of recurring infections and severity of the disease increases dramatically with smoking. Since smoking dries out the mouth, there is a higher buildup of plaque along the teeth, which leads to the formation of harmful bacteria. The first sign of gum disease is usually bleeding, but if you smoke, the gum has become hardened due to the inhalation of tobacco and chemicals. Because of this, smokers are less likely to show these initial symptoms. This allows disease to spread unnoticed and can wreak havoc on the soft tissues of the gum and can even lead to jaw bone infection.
2. Procedures like crowns and bridges can have a dramatically positive effect on your smile and they look amazing when first placed. If you smoke, the gum pulls away from the teeth and what once looked shiny and perfect, becomes deteriorated. Porcelain laminates also start to lose their luster much faster if you’re a smoker. Those cosmetic procedures aren’t cheap, and it’s a shame to see them go to waste.
3. Dental implants can replace damaged and lost teeth in the mouths of smokers, but smokers should know they have an increased risk that the procedure will fail. Especially in the first weeks of the healing process, which lasts between two and three weeks. Smoking in the post-surgical time period after implants are inserted delays healing and increases the likelihood of infection and complications.
Smoking is incredibly hard on all aspects of our health and places and immense amount of stress on our bodies. Your mouth and teeth are just one facet of this problem, but they often are the most visible indicator of poor health. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting before you run into oral complications. If you have no intention of quitting soon, be sure you’re paying extra time and attention to your oral hygiene. Schedule dentist appointments regularly and keep on top of attending them. I love taking care of my patients and aim to make sure they’re looking and feeling their best, reminding them of the consequences of their habit is a well-intentioned attempt to look after their wellbeing.