Smoking has many serious health risks. It can lead to lung cancer, emphysema, and other serious illnesses. It can also have a significant impact on oral health.

Smoking Affects the Gums

(Pixabay / Kruscha)

Smoking has been associated with periodontal or gum disease, which, in its advanced stages, can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial infection that destroys both the soft tissue and the bone that anchors your teeth to the jawbones. The weakening of the soft tissue and bone is your body’s reaction to the accumulation of plaque.

The early signs of periodontal or gum disease including bleeding of the gums during brushing or flossing. Your gums will start breaking down as the infection worsens. They may begin pulling away from your teeth, forming pockets in the process. Over time, the pockets between the gums and the teeth will become deeper and the supporting structures will begin to be damaged. The end result will be loose and painful teeth that may eventually fall out.

Smoking and gum disease

Studies have proven that smokers develop more tartar or calculus than nonsmokers. Tartar is hardened plaque, which may result from decreased production of saliva. Smokers are prone to this condition because smoking restricts the production of saliva.

Smoking exacerbates gum disease. Smokers tend to have deeper pockets between the teeth and the gums and more severe cases of bone loss. Smokers are three to six times more prone to gum diseases than nonsmokers and are five times more likely to have severe bone loss. Smoking can make gum disease treatment more difficult because smoking hinders the healing process in the mouth.

Oral cancer

According to the American Cancer Society,90 percent of people with oral cancer and some types of throat cancer have smoked or used tobacco. If you smoke, see a physician about stopping. If you are considering starting, avoid it. The health risks far outweigh any benefits smoking may bring.