The detrimental effects of tobacco on health have long been known. It is linked to various cancers and cardiovascular disease. But a little known fact is the implication on dental health. Smoking has a drastic effect on gum tissues, otherwise known as periodontal tissues.
At least 90 percent of people are afflicted by gum disease at some point of their lives.
Smokers, though, have far greater chances of acquiring it, and when they do, it is more serious with every possibility of them losing their teeth earlier. Smokers, according to case studies dealing with periodontal disease, have a 5 to 7 times greater likelihood of contracting severe gum disease.
Typical symptoms of periodontal disease are:
- Red swollen and possibly tender gums
- Bleeding on tooth brushing
- Loose teeth or teeth that are changing position
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth (pocketing)
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus or discharge around the gums
- A change in the way the teeth bite together
The conclusions of several case studies dealing with periodontal disease in smokers are:
- They suffer from more severe periodontal disease than non-smokers.
- Smoking results in deeper pockets and greater loss of bone support and gum structure.
- They lose their teeth at a younger age and are prone to greater tooth loss.
- Their response to periodontal treatment is slower and less positive than with non-smokers.
- Periodontal problems are likely to be recurrent.
- Smoking tends to camouflage the symptoms of gum disease so the smoker is unaware of the problem.
These are overwhelming reasons for a smoker to give up the habit immediately.
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