Studies have shown that smoking is one of the largest contributing factors to developing gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?Gum disease is a bacterial infection in your gums. Starting out with few, if any symptoms, often makes its presence known by red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush and floss. If these symptoms go unnoticed, gum disease can quickly worsen, becoming periodontitis. As it progresses, the bacteria travel below your gum line and infect your teeth and jawbone. Once there, your jawbone can lose integrity and your teeth may become loose and even fall out.
Smoking Restricts Blood FlowCigarettes contain nicotine, which restricts your blood flow. When this happens, important nutrients and oxygen travel slower through your body. Your gums are deprived of what they need to survive, and therefore begin to die, which causes gum recession. As your gums pull away from your teeth, it makes it easier for bacteria to get below the gum line.
Blood flow restriction also has a negative impact on your saliva flow. Saliva contains proteins that kill harmful bacteria while it washes them away. Less saliva leads to dry mouth, making an environment that is conducive for bacterial growth.
Smoking Masks the Symptoms of Gum Disease]Smoking can actually give the false impression that your teeth and gums are healthy in the early stages of gum disease. This is because smokers experience less swelling, redness and bleeding. Because gum disease can go by undiagnosed for a long period of time, you are more likely to suffer deeper gum pockets, more severe bone loss and more tooth loss.
Gum disease is a serious condition that can easily be stopped and reversed if caught early on. But even if you have a strict oral hygiene routine, all your efforts could be for naught if you smoke. For the best chance at prevention, brush at least twice a day, floss daily, visit the dentist regularly and quit smoking.
Please contact our office if you have any questions about smokings effects on your oral health.