We all know smoking harms our heart and lungs, but it adversely affects oral health too. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that smokers quadrupled their risk for periodontitis, or severe gum disease, versus those who had never smoked. The study also found that fifty-five percent of the study’s participants with periodontitis were current smokers. Another twenty-two percent had given up the habit. And those who smoked less than half a pack daily were still almost three times more likely to have severe gum disease than non-smokers.
Why Smoking Is Harmful
Tobacco suppresses the body’s immune system, reducing its ability to fight infection and disease. Smoking also limits the growth of blood vessels, reduces blood flow and slows the healing of damaged gums and other soft tissues.
- What does this mean if you don’t quit?
- The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.
- The longer you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.
- Treatments for gum disease may not work as well for people who smoke.
- Tobacco in any form also increases the risk of acquiring oral cancer.
Robert Silverman, DDS, says there’s one positive aspect discovered in the study: “Quitting smoking or never starting in the first place will greatly reduce your risk of gum disease. The lesson is, don’t smoke if you want to save your teeth — and your life.” The downtown Placerville Dental Group is here to help you monitor and improve your oral health!