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Can Smoking Cause Periodontal Disease?

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Even though it is a fact that smoking is bad for your health, did you know that includes your teeth and gums? The longer a person smokes, the higher their risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease, one of the leading causes of tooth loss. There are several risk factors for gum disease, but smoking is one of the most significant. Read on to learn more about the correlation between smoking and periodontal disease from the dental professionals at Kodish-Perez Dental Group in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

What is periodontal disease?

Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection of the gums. Plaque and tartar build up over time and can lead to early gum disease or gingivitis. But the good news is it can be reversed, once detected, with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings. However, gum disease worsens if left untreated, causing gum tissue to pull away from the teeth and form pockets at the gum line that get infected. This advanced stage is called periodontal disease, a severe infection of the gums that affects the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place. It can cause painful discomfort, sore or bleeding gums, and loose teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss.

Why are smokers more at risk for periodontal disease?

Gingivitis, or gum disease, is caused by sticky plaque bacteria on or between the teeth. Smoking and other tobacco products appear to interfere with gum tissue cells' normal function, affecting soft tissue and bone attachment to the tooth structure. Smoking also weakens a person's immune system, making people who smoke more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease. Smoking can lead to other dental problems, such as:

  • Halitosis or constant bad breath
  • Yellowish, stained, or discolored teeth
  • Bone loss
  • Delayed healing after dental procedures, with tooth extractions or periodontal treatment
  • Increase buildup of plaque and tartar
  • Increase risk of developing gum or periodontal disease

Smoking and periodontal disease

Smokers may not experience the early warning signs of gum disease, including bleeding gums when brushing and flossing, as nicotine causes circulation issues and restricts blood flow. Healthy gums are pink in color and become red as another sign of gum disease. Heavy smokers tend to have discolored or gray gums, making it easy to miss this early indicator of a dental concern. The main goal of treating periodontal disease is to control the infection. Drs. Kodish and Perez will assess and determine what each patient needs and suggest changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, to improve treatment results.

Our dental group offers a wide variety of services ranging from restorative, preventive, and cosmetic treatments to help our patients maintain good oral health. You can keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, visiting the dentist regularly for a checkup, and quitting smoking. To learn more about the signs of periodontal disease and treatment options, contact our experienced team at Kodish-Perez Dental Group in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and schedule a consultation with Dr. Federico Perez or Dr. Gary Kodish today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.