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Dental Risks Of Lighting Up: How Smoking Affects Your Dental Health

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It's no secret that smoking is detrimental to your health, and while many smokers know that smoking can lead to bad breath and stained teeth, the more concerning dental risks are usually ignored. Below are three common dental risks associated with smoking and how they affect your dental health overall.

Impaired Healing

Tobacco can cause a number of issues relating to blood vessels and dental tissues, and this can negatively impact you in the event of a dental injury or procedure.

Tobacco acts as a constrictor of blood vessels – this means that blood vessels become narrow and can even close. This reduces the amount of blood flow to surrounding tissues and can result in significant damage and even tissue death. Blood flow is vital to the health of your gums and teeth, but even more so following a dental injury or procedure, as blood flow is needed to repair the disturbed tissue.

Gum Disease

As mentioned above, tobacco impacts the size of blood vessels within your body, including your mouth. As a result, poor flow to the gums can lead to tissue death and severe gum disease.

Proper blood flow ensures that your body's tissues receive the amount of oxygen and other nutrients needed to survive, as well as acts as a way for your body's tissues to dispose of waste. With decreased bloodflow, not only are your gums getting less oxygen, but they're also unable to properly dispose of all of the waste contained within their cells. This double whammy leads to weaker gums which can become easily infected and unable to support your teeth.

Increased Plaque Buildup

Every time you light up, you contribute to the bacteria and other chemicals that rest upon your teeth, eventually becoming a film of plaque. If not properly treated, this plaque can turn into a harder substance, known as tartar, that can only be removed with the help of a dentist.

Smoking makes infection much more likely to occur, which results in a higher production of bacteria. This is a nasty cycle that can only be broken by taking the proper steps to care for your teeth. For smokers, such steps include quitting smoking to improve the immune response to bacteria and decrease the odds of plaque and tartar buildup.

To learn more about the impact that smoking has on your dental health, consult with your dentist. If you continue to smoke, there is only so much you and your dentist can do to reverse oral health issues and prevent further ones, so you may also want to consult with your doctor and learn more about the process of quitting.  

For more information, contact Marc E. Segal, D.D.S. or a similar dental professional.