Top 5 Effects of Smoking On Gums - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Smoking Effects On Healthy Gums

Dr.Aamir Khan Ahmed profile Authored by Dr.Aamir Khan Ahmed on 24 Dec 2013 - 12:37.

You have probably seen the warning on cigarette packages: "Quitting smoking reduces serious health risks."  The first smoking-related disease that normally comes to one’s mind is probably Lung cancer. But did you know that half of periodontal (gum) disease in smokers is caused by smoking?

Smoking affects the gums in the following ways:

Loss of teeth: Chronic (long-term) gum disease can lead to the loss of teeth. Studies have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease, a bacterial infection. It destroys soft tissue and bone that anchor the teeth to jawbones. Bacteria grow in the dental plaque that forms in the pockets around the teeth.

In early stages of the disease, gums may be seen bleeding while brushing or flossing. As the infection worsens, gums begin to break down. They pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. Later, teeth may become loose and painful and may even fall out.

Bone loss: Smoking tobacco products can make gum disease get worse faster. Smokers have more severe bone loss and more deep pockets between their teeth and gums than non-smokers. Severe bone loss was five times greater among current or former heavy smokers than among people who never smoked.

Low response to treatment: Smokers have much less gum bleeding and redness than others, even though their mouths are not healthy, hence leading to the false impression that the gums are healthy. While smoking increases the chances of developing gum disease, it makes treatment much more difficult and less likely to succeed.

Dental implants are much more likely to fail in people who smoke, because of poor bone healing. It appears to interfere with basic functions that fight disease and promote healing. Researchers have found that smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment.

Cosmetic treatment not effective: Crowns and bridges look great when first placed in the mouth but in smokers, especially as the gums recede and bone is lost. Popular cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain laminates, will not look good for a long time in persons who smoke. Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than non-smokers. Calculus is the hardened form of plaque.

Slow healing: It is believed that chemicals contained in tobacco interfere with the flow of blood to the gums. This leads to a slowdown in the healing process. It makes the treatment results less predictable and often unfavourable. It is not just cigarette smoke that contributes to periodontal disease. All tobacco products can affect gum health. This includes pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars.

Quitting immediately greatly reduces serious risks to health as reported in a study that people who had quit smoking 11 years ago had about the same rate of periodontal disease as people who never smoked.

Implant failure: Dental implants can replace lost teeth in people who smoke. However, smokers should know they have an increased risk that the procedure will fail. Studies have consistently found that patients who smoke have more implant failures. Before getting implants, it’s advised to seek counselling and support to help one quit smoking.

Benefits of quitting smoking:

Even reducing smoking seems to help. One study found that people who smoked more than a pack and a half per day were six times more likely to have periodontal disease than non-smokers. But, those who smoked less than a half pack per day had only three times’ the risk. The dental office is a good place to visit to help with quitting.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.