Smoking and Your Dental Health
While it is common knowledge that smoking has disastrous effects on overall health, including an increased risk for heart disease and cancer, smoking also profoundly affects dental health. Did you know that those who smoke have a higher risk for developing gum disease and oral cancer? Smokers are also more likely to suffer from tooth loss and sleep apnea.
An Increased Risk for Gum Disease
The chemicals and smoke emitted from cigars and cigarettes inflame the gums. When the gums become irritated, they will pull away from the teeth as a defensive response. Exposure to irritants also increases the risk for infection of the gum tissue as well. Gum disease can advance to a chronic infection in the mouth and ultimately result in tooth loss because teeth become unsupported. A vicious cycle, once a tooth is lost, patients have a higher risk for further tooth loss because teeth tend to shift and move into empty tooth sockets. Ideally, patients should abstain from smoking all together. Those that smoke should receive regular professional cleanings and checkups along with practicing proper oral hygiene to reduce their risk for gum disease.
Smoking and Oral Cancer
Oral cancers can develop anywhere in the oral cavity but typically form along the soft tissues of the mouth including the insides of cheeks and lips and on the tongue. The carcinogens released by smoking tobacco significantly increase the risk for developing oral cancer. During oral examinations, our dentist will look for abnormalities that may indicate cancerous lesions and growths. When a suspicious area is detected, a biopsy will be performed. If an area is revealed to be affected by oral cancer, patients will likely require oral surgery to remove cancerous growths in the mouth.
Committed to providing excellent oral healthcare, our team encourages patients to discuss their overall health and lifestyle habits so that we can provide customized treatment. To schedule an appointment for a cleaning or examination, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center today.