A General Dentist Explains the Dangers of Smoking

A General Dentist Explains the Dangers of Smoking from Colella Cosmetic Dentistry in Coconut Creek, FLThe field of general dentistry involves taking care of the whole mouth, not only the teeth. Tobacco use is dangerous to your overall well-being, but your oral health is particularly at risk. When you smoke, your mouth is the first place that the nicotine and tar go. A general dentist sees firsthand the damage that smoking does inside your mouth and can explain what happens.

How does smoking affect general dentistry?

When you go for a dental checkup, the dentist or hygienist may be able to show you the effects that smoking has on your oral health. Here are some of the issues they are likely to bring up when encouraging you to quit using tobacco.

Oral cancer

Tobacco is a carcinogen, and since the tissues of your mouth absorb a lot of the nicotine, smoking can put you at greater risk for developing oral cancer. This type of malignancy is more likely to prove fatal if its spreads. Treatment is easier if it is caught in the early stages. If you smoke, regular dental checkups are vital because oral cancer screening can detect malignancies in their earliest stages.

Gum disease

Tobacco use negatively affects blood flow to your gums. This makes them more vulnerable to infection and, if they do get infected, prevents them from healing. The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario cites a study conducted in the United States showing that tobacco use was a factor in over half of all severe gum disease cases.

Tooth shifting or loss

An infection of the gums can develop into more serious periodontal disease, affecting not only the gums but the jawbone. Since these are the structures that hold the teeth in place, smoking can cause them to shift positions and possibly fall out completely.

Tartar buildup

Smoking contributes to the buildup of plaque on your teeth, which can harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities.

Tooth staining

Tooth enamel is a porous material with a lot of tiny holes that can let chemicals in. The tar contained in cigarette smoke can get into these holes and permanently stain your teeth.

How does smoking affect general health?

Smoking negatively affects almost every system in your body. The effects on your oral health are more easily observable, but the effects on your internal organs are at least as serious.

Cardiovascular disease

Tobacco use damages the heart and blood vessels, putting you at greater risk for heart attack or stroke.

Respiratory illness

Smoking damages the tissues of the lungs and prevents them from functioning properly. This can lead to conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which together fall under the category of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking also increases the risks of tuberculosis and lung cancer.

Other chronic diseases

Smoking can increase the risk for rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders of the immune system. It can contribute to certain eye disorders and cause or complicate other chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

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While smoking is dangerous to your overall health, its negative effects from the standpoint of general dentistry may be the most obvious.

Request an appointment or call Colella Cosmetic Dentistry at 954-428-6923 for an appointment in our Coconut Creek office.

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