We are all aware that smoking is bad for our health, but, did you know that smoking can have a number of significant negative effects on your oral health as well? To help promote a healthier lifestyle, your Boise dentist at Summit Dental wants inform you of some of the most common Boise dental problems smoking can cause:
Increased risk for oral cancer: Cancer highlights one of the biggest concerns smoking can have on your health. Approximately 37,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. A study conducted at the University of California in San Francisco concluded that eight out of ten oral cancer patients were smokers. Oral cancer is most likely to be discovered by your Boise dentist during an oral cancer screening, a standard part of most preventative exams done by your Boise dentist. Early detection is one of the most important factors in successful treatment of this type of cancer. Yet another reason to keep up on the routine visits to your Boise dental office, especially if you’re a smoker!
Greater risk for gum disease: Smoking has been linked with a higher instance of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Left untreated, gum disease can result in serious oral infections of the mouth. It can also lead to soft tissue and bone damage, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
Tooth Discoloration: We all want a brighter smile right? Unfortunately, smoking or chewing tobacco is known for yellowing, and stubborn staining of the teeth.
Difficult healing after dental treatment or oral surgeries: Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it narrows the blood vessels and decreases the amount of blood being delivered to the tissues. Good blood flow is an essential element in healthy gum tissues. A diminished blood flow can be especially detrimental during the stages of healing, especially if you’ve had some recent Boise dental work or have had a tooth pulled.
Damaged Gum Tissue and Tooth Decay: Besides the increased risk of periodontal disease, smoking or chewing tobacco can cause gums to recede. Receding gums expose the more vulnerable root portion of a tooth which can result in a variety of Boise dental health care problems.
Sensitive Teeth: Roots are less protected from hot or cold sensations than the enamel that covers your tooth. The recession of gum tissue contributed to smoking can lead to tooth sensitivity that makes eating and drinking uncomfortable.
Leukoplakia: Leukoplakia is a condition in which a smoker may develop thick white patches on the tongue, cheeks, or gums. While it is not usually painful, severe cases can develop into oral cancer. Leukoplakia is most often caused by smoking.
Lower success rates of some Boise dental procedures: Because of some of the issues listed above, such as bone loss and slower healing times, smoking decreases the success of treatments such as Boise dental implants.
Dry Mouth: Smoking or chewing tobacco can cause inflammation of the salivary glands, which reduces saliva output that can lead to dry mouth. Saliva is the body’s natural tool that washes away debris after eating or drinking while balancing the mouth’s pH balance back to it’s normal state. Some of the side effects of dry mouth include an increased risk for tooth decay (cavities) and halitosis.
Bad breath: We are all familiar with the unpleasant scent associated with smoking. However, an unpleasant smell from smoke particles also linger in the mouth and lungs as well. Smokers breath is one of the most obvious Boise dental health issues caused by smoking. Smoking not only contributes to bad breath by drying out the palate, it increases the risk of Boise dental caries and gum disease as well – all of which lead to persistent halitosis.
So, what about e-cigs? E-cigs, electronic cigarettes (better known as “vaping”) were first introduced approximately 10 years ago and have gained steady popularity since then. They are designed to have all of the characteristics of a standard cigarette, without the use of tobacco. However, this doesn’t necessarily make them a healthier alternative. Instead of smoke, users inhale nicotine vapor. While the elimination of the tobacco decreases many (but not all) cancer causing agents, and does not result in bad breath or tooth discoloration that typical cigarettes can cause, it doesn’t completely eliminate the negative impacts on your Boise dental health. E-cigs still have a significant amount of nicotine in them, which contributes to decreased blood flow to the gums (healthy gingiva that are essential to keeping other oral tissues healthy), and diminished healing from infections, Boise dental procedures and oral surgeries. Bottom line, studies are still needed to find out exactly how “healthy” e-cig’s are so its important to remember that they don’t solve every Boise dental problem caused by smoking.