If a person is having trouble with their gums, the root cause may be a personal habit: tobacco use. Study after study reveals that tobacco causes poor gum health. Consider the following connections between tobacco and gum disease.
Smoking and Periodontal Disease
Smoking can affect the normal function of the cells that make up gum tissue. The result is gums that are susceptible to infection. When a person smokes, the type of bacteria found in the mouth changes. More aggressive forms of bacteria take hold and make gum infections more common. Smoking also increases calculus on the teeth. Calculus, along or under the gumline, can cause serious gum damage if not regularly removed by a dental professional.
Because smoking also impairs blood flow in the gums, the healing process is slowed. This makes it difficult to recover from periodontal disease even if the infection can be cleared up. Unfortunately, even those who wish to kick the tobacco habit often have a difficult time due to the addictive nature of nicotine.
Is Smokeless Tobacco Better for Your Gums?
Absolutely not! Using chewing tobacco can result in a receding gumline. This not only leaves your gums open to infection, but it increases the odds of suffering from tooth decay. Since chewing-tobacco contains more nicotine than cigarettes, it may be even tougher to kick this habit. Nicotine is not only addictive, but it also contributes to faster calculus build up and gum problems.
Quick Facts About Periodontal Disease and Tobacco
– Smokers have double the odds of getting gum disease than non-smokers.
– Risks increase based on how much a person smokes and how long they have been a smoker.
– Gum disease treatment is not as successful for smokers.
– Chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco also increase the risk of periodontal disease.
Other Dental Health Conditions Related to Tobacco
Gum disease is not the only thing that tobacco users need to be concerned with when it comes to oral health. Other conditions related to smoking and chewing tobacco include:
– Various oral cancers (especially when using chewing tobacco)
– Receding gums
– Poor bone density
– An increased risk of dental implant failure
You Can Kick the Habit
There are various medications, gums, and patches on the market to help people break away from tobacco and nicotine. If you need assistance, ask your dentist for recommendations. Your dentist will be happy to help since kicking the tobacco habit is the best thing you can do for your periodontal health.