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Smoking and How it Affects Your Oral Health

The New Year is coming up fast and it’s a great time to make those new resolutions. If you smoke then you might be amongst one of the thousands of people every year who resolve to quit. There are many great reasons for trying to give up smoking and one of these is the effect it has on your teeth and gums. Retaining a nice healthy smile can be a good incentive to quit.

How Smoking Affects Your Dental Health

smokingApart from giving you bad breath and staining your teeth, smoking affects your gum tissue. It causes the blood vessels in your gums to become narrower so they are less able to transport nutrients that are essential for healing and for fighting infections and at the same time they are less able to carry away toxins. This can affect your ability to heal after tooth extractions and may mean you cannot have dental implant surgery without there being a considerable risk of failure.

If you smoke, you’re at greater risk of developing periodontal disease which is a form of advanced gum disease. This is at least in part because smoking can lead to an increase in the build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Periodontal disease can be an extremely serious condition, not least because it’s an inflammatory disease and it’s been linked to general health conditions. If you have periodontal disease you’re more risk of developing certain health conditions or any existing conditions such as diabetes can worsen.

You are also at increased risk of developing a condition called leukoplakia that causes white patches to develop on the inside of the mouth. Leukoplakia is not actually harmful, but it is thought it could be a precursor to oral cancer, so if you develop this condition it is worth getting it checked out by our dentist in Ladbroke Grove. As a smoker, you are at increased risk of developing oral cancer, a potentially life threatening condition. This is partly why we urge all our patients to come and visit us at regular intervals as Ladbroke Grove Dental Care does provide regular screenings for mouth cancer as part of a dental check-up.

Is it Safe to Use Smokeless Tobacco Products?

Smokeless tobacco products are no safer than cigarettes or cigars as it’s been found that chewing tobacco and snuff contain multiple chemicals that can increase the risk of oral cancer or cancer of the oesophagus and the throat. In fact these products can contain more nicotine than cigarettes, making the habit even harder to quit. In addition, some smokeless tobacco products have sugars added to them to enhance the flavour, increasing the risk of tooth decay. The tobacco can also irritate gum tissue, causing gum recession, exposing the tooth roots and again putting you at higher risk of decay.

If you do need help in quitting smoking, please ask our dentist in Ladbroke Grove for information and support. Once you do manage to quit or cut down, it’s surprising how quickly this can make a real difference to your dental health, not to mention your wallet. Call us to book an appointment on 020 7727 9836.

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