Do you smoke or chew tobacco? You could be putting your oral health at risk. Smoking can increase your risk of certain oral health problems while also increasing the length of time it takes for your gums to heal after an injury or surgery. If you smoke, you should be aware of the risks – and the potential benefits of stopping the smoking habit.
1. Smoking Contributes to Dry Mouth
Smoking contributes to dry mouth, which can lead to an increase in bacteria, pain in the mouth and decreased ability to enjoy of food. This happens because smoking can reduce your saliva production, which is important for maintaining your dental health. Saliva also aids digestion.
2. Increased Risk of Cancer
Smoking leads to an increased risk of cancer. In fact, about 90% of people who get cancer of the mouth, throat, lips, and tongue are people who use tobacco. The more you use tobacco, the greater your risk for these types of cancers. Experts say that people who smoke are about six times more likely to develop cancer in this part of the body.
What’s worse is that almost 40% of the patients who keep on smoking after their cancer is cured will develop cancer in this part of the body again. People who stop smoking after their first cancer diagnosis have a less than 10% chance of developing cancer again.
3. Increased Risk for Gum Disease
Smoking weakens the immune system, which increases the risk of gum disease. When gum disease happens, the body is less able to fight off the infection. In fact, smokers have twice the risk of developing gum disease as non-smokers. Heavy-smokers are at higher risk than people who only smoke occasionally. The risk of developing gum disease also increases the longer that the smoking habit continues.
Take Care of Your Teeth. See the Dentist.
If you smoke, one of the ways you can maintain healthy teeth and gums is by stopping your smoking habit. You can also protect your oral health by seeing the dentist regularly. Your dentist can help you catch gum disease in its early stages. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, contact Fishinger Dental to make an appointment.