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Another Reason to Quit: Smoking Can Lead to Tooth Loss

Dr. Degel Jun 25, 2016

A cigarette smokingAt Astoria Dental Group, we help the people of Queens smile with confidence. It's always been our goal to improve dental health and aesthetics. This can be done through advanced treatments for dental problems (e.g., dental implants for missing teeth) as well as patient education and tips for prevention. By promoting healthy living and preventative care, we can do a lot of good for patients.

We all know that smoking can lead to a number of serious health issues, like lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. What many people do not realize is that smoking can also contribute to dental health problems, and we don't mean stained teeth. If you're not careful, your bad habit can lead to tooth loss.

Smoking Leads to a Variety of Dental Health Issues

Yes, smoking can lead to stained teeth and bad breath, and both of these can be serious issues. Yet smoking also increases the risk of gum disease, which in turn can lead to the loss of a tooth. In addition to gum disease, oral cancer risks increase significantly for people who smoke or use smokeless tobacco.

Periodontal Health and Gum Disease

Gum disease refers to the inflammation of the gum tissue caused by oral bacteria, the same bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth and causes tooth decay and bad breath. Since smokers are at greater risk of infection, the likelihood of developing gum disease is higher.

There are three stages of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

In more advanced stages of gum disease, teeth can become loose, shift out of place, and eventually fall out. There's also a greater likelihood of root canal infections, which can lead to pain and require tooth extraction to prevent more serious dental health problems.

Greater Likelihood of Gum Recession

In addition to gum disease, smoking contributes to gum recession. This refers to the loss of gum tissue and exposure of more of a tooth's root. This means less stability for the tooth in place, greater likelihood of tooth decay below the gumline, and root canal infections.

The Numbers Don't Lie: Smoking and Tooth Loss Are Linked

According to studies by The Academy of General Dentistry, smoking can significantly increase your chances of tooth loss. Research has found that men who smoke heavily for 10 years are likely to be missing 2 to 3 teeth, and women who smoke heavily for 10 years are likely to be missing 1 to 2 teeth. This is why it's important to avoid tobacco products if you want to have the healthiest smile possible.

Treating Tooth Loss

If you do suffer from tooth loss, there are many different options to consider. Dental bridges and dentures are an old standby, and advances in dental techniques and technology also mean the use of dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots surgically placed into the jawbone and gum tissue. The best option for your needs can be discussed in the consultation process.

Get Help Quitting

Ultimately it's best for patients to quit smoking. While easier said that done, there are countless resources out there that can make this a reality. We'd be more than happy to point out what these resources are so you can smile with confidence again.

Contact Astoria Dental Group

To learn more about the effects of smoking on your dental health and other issues related to general wellness and the beauty of your smile, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Clifford Degel and Dr. Carmen Every-Degel look forward to your visit and helping you smile with confidence again.

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