Smoking Tobacco affects the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, skin, the taste of your tongue … and not just these, it also affects the teeth and gums adversely. In fact, it is one of the major causes of gum disease. The cell damage due to consumption of tobacco is responsible for taste, smell, vocal cords, precancerous and cancerous lesions and periodontal disease.
Tobacco and Gum Disease
Tobacco promotes the emergence and development of periodontal diseases (like gingivitis, periodontitis) and of black or brown stains on teeth .
Periodontal diseases are inflammatory diseases of the gums and tissues supporting the teeth. They can be classified into two categories: gingivitis and periodontitis . But tobacco is directly involved in more serious conditions such as cancerous lesions.
The severity of periodontal disease is linked to length of exposure to smoking, and the number of cigarettes smoked per day. We observed, for example a dental attachment loss greater than 0.5% for the smoker who consumes a cigarette per day. But this figure rises to nearly 10% increase in those who smoked 10-20 cigarettes a day.
Gingivitis is less visible among smokers than among nonsmokers. The reason is simple: the nicotine in tobacco causes vasoconstriction of blood vessels which causes slow blood flow. Inflammatory signs are rarer and bleeding tendency is also lower. One direct consequence is that the smoker often has deep lesions despite the appearance of mild inflammation.
A U.S. study (Tomar and Asma, 2000) found that smokers are four times more prone to periodontitis than non-smokers. Tobacco is thus responsible for 40% of cases of chronic periodontitis.
Tobacco is also responsible for gingival recession (gum shortening) exposing the tooth to possible attacks, and to hypertrophy of the papillae of the tongue (black hairy tongue). Candidiasis are also due to the presence of yeasts (unicellular fungus) which unbalance the flora of the mouth.
The most common form of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which alone accounts for over 90% of malignant tumors of the mouth. Alcohol consumption linked to tobacco is aggravating and partly explains the higher proportion of men affected by these cancers. The risk of developing oral cancer are five times higher in smokers than in non-smoking.
Tobacco Hinders Treatment of Gum Disease
Moreover, during dental implant placement or bridgework, dentists recommend a temporary or permanent smoking cessation for easy care, and also because nicotine decreases the healing capacity and therefore the chances of successful treatment.
How to Stop Tobacco Consumption
Substitutes, gums, patches
Many solutions exist today to make a provisional or final cessation as part of dental care. Stopping smoking can make the operation easier and ensure a more successful treatment. Several substitutes make it easier to stop tobacco. Available as chewing gum, patches or tablets, these available substitutes are effective in stopping the addiction.
If you feel your addiction is easily surmountable, ask your pharmacist for nicotine replacement therapy to help you withstand the withdrawal symptoms. If you fear you might have a trouble giving up tobacco, do not hesitate to consult your doctor who can make suggest appropriate therapy for you.
So, whether you wish to prevent gum disease or are looking for natural treatments for periodontal disease, stop tobacco immediately. Even if you are going in for clinical treatments for gum disease, tobacoo will only hinder and slow down your treatment.