The Damage Smoking Can Do

We don’t need to tell you that smoking is bad for your health. But since we help current and former smokers deal with the damage smoking causes to their teeth on a daily basis at West Meade Dental, we figure it’s worth talking about some of the specific dental problems that come along with cigarettes.

Smoking can damage your beautiful smile and cause serious health problems.

Smoking can damage your beautiful smile and cause serious health problems.

How Smoking Affects Dental Health

The Nicotine and tar in cigarettes each take their toll on teeth. Tar contributes considerably to the yellow and brown staining many smokers complain about. Nicotine brings along far more serious issues too.

Nicotine directly affects the blood vessels in your mouth, minimizing the blood flow to your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. That does two particularly bad things: It limits your body’s ability to fight infection there, and hides the response to infection, so you’re potentially unaware of the problem until it gets more serious. Nicotine also affects your saliva, minimizing its ability to dull acids that come from the foods we eat. Add that all up, and you have the recipe for serious tooth trouble.

Let’s Talk About Gum (Or Periodontal) Disease

You’ve likely heard the term “gum disease” plenty of times through the years, from your dentist or in mouthwash and toothpaste commercials. But here are some specifics about gum disease (or periodontal disease) that are well worth knowing about, particularly if you’re a smoker.

– If you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, it means that you have an infection in your gum tissue and/or the bones supporting your teeth. And like any infection, if it isn’t dealt with, it’ll spread and get worse.

– Symptoms can include persistent bad breath, red and swollen gums, receding or bleeding gums, even loose or lost teeth.

– In its milder form (Gingivitus), the infection is more confined to the tissue in your gums, and since sufferers usually don’t experience pain, it’s common that it goes unchecked and untreated. With more serious periodontal disease, or Periodontitis, the bone that holds your teeth can be affected, leading to tooth loss.

– You’re more likely to have periodontal disease if you smoke. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a little over eight percent of adults ages 20 to 64 surveyed were periodontal disease sufferers. If you’re looking at current smokers, the percentage is almost twice as high.

What West Meade Dental Can Do To Help

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your dental health. If you’re dealing with damage brought on by smoking, there are some things West Meade Dental can do to help you.

Professional Cleaning
During a cleaning, we can remove plaque and tartar buildup to limit the likelihood of gum separation and gum disease.

Teeth Whitening and Porcelain Veneers
Tooth yellowing or discoloration from smoking doesn’t have to be permanent. In a lot of cases, we can whiten your smile considerably and make you feel more comfortable and more confident with our professional teeth whitening services. More significantly stained teeth that are still relatively healthy could benefit from porcelain veneers, which attach to the front of your teeth to bring a bright new appearance.

Other Cosmetic Dentistry
If you’ve lost teeth due to gum disease or other issues, West Meade Dental can bring your smile back. We specialize in porcelain crowns and bridges, implants and full or partial dentures, and we can tell you what approach will work best for your needs.

If you have any questions about the effects of smoking on dental health, don’t hesitate to call West Meade Dental – we’re always glad to help.

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