We know how smoking can affect your lungs, but did you know that it can affect your teeth and gums too? In fact, studies show that smokers are up to six times more likely to develop advanced gum disease than non-smokers.
The Impact of Smoking on Your Immune System
Smoking or chewing tobacco is well known for staining teeth, leading to embarrassing discoloration that can be costly to resolve. But appearances aside, smoking weakens your immune system, which means that you are more likely to develop diseases as a faster rate. That is why smoking is linked to an increased chance of developing diseases like cancer, lung disease, diabetes, and arthritis, just to name a few.
Smoking and Gum Disease
Gum disease, which starts off as gingivitis and can progress into periodontitis, occurs when bacteria in your gums and on your teeth are left untreated, irritating the gums and causing painful inflammation. The longer its left untreated, the deeper the bacteria travel toward the roots of your teeth.
Because smoking suppresses your natural immune response to fight these bacteria, it allows the bacteria to multiply at a faster rate, causing more aggressive gum disease over a shorter period of time. Gum disease can become very painful, and if left untreated, can require multiple treatments to maintain and save your teeth.
Treatment for Gum Disease
If you have gingivitis, a deep cleaning may do just the trick to remove bacteria from those hard-to-reach places below the gum line. But if you have more advanced periodontitis, you may need to have surgery or even get a tooth extraction if there are no other alternatives.
Quitting or avoiding smoking altogether is the best way to ensure that you have a strong and healthy immune system to ward off debilitating diseases like gum disease.
Even with a strong immune system, you should brush and floss your teeth twice a day and see your dentist twice a year to prevent gum disease. At Cary Family Dental, your oral health is our top priority. Contact us to schedule an appointment!