Smoking and Its Effect on Oral Health

smoking-and-teeth-300x200The dangers of smoking have been well documented over the past few decades. We all know smoking can negatively impact general health, affecting your heart and lungs, but not so many realize smoking can damage oral health. Although you may dislike having nicotine stained teeth, smoking can cause even worse problems for your oral tissues and gums.

The big concern is the increased risk of oral cancer. Smoking is often linked with lung cancer, but smokers are at greater risk of developing oral cancer. Switching to alternative forms of tobacco, for example chewing tobacco doesn’t decrease the risk and could actually raise it.

Another issue is the link between oral health and gum disease. People who smoke are six times more likely to develop gum disease. It’s more difficult for your general dentist in Sarasota to treat this condition as smoking makes it harder for gums to heal. In addition, people who smoke have fewer good bacteria in their mouth and larger quantities of bad bacteria which makes fighting this disease even trickier.

It’s best to completely quit smoking and to refrain from using any types of tobacco products. Many people find it difficult to give up due to the physical and psychological addiction caused by nicotine. Your family dentist in Sarasota or your family doctor can recommend methods and programs aimed at helping you stop smoking. It’s possible your dentist might suggest more frequent checkups to help protect your oral health, at least until you feel able to give up smoking completely.