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Smoke Gets in Your Smile: Smoking Can Cause Tooth Loss

By Dr. Damon on June 29, 2016

An implant-supported dental crownBad habits have consequences. If you neglect a certain aspect of your dental health and wellness, it can lead to tooth loss and other serious problems. Here at Texas Denture Clinic in Fort Worth, we always take a holistic view of dental care, and we apply this to our advanced approach to implant dentistry and dental treatment.

For instance, we want to make sure patients know the dangers of smoking and why they should really get help quitting for good. With this in mind, let's consider how smoking can lead to tooth loss, in addition to other serious health issues.

Smoking Causes Many Dental Health Issues

We all know that smoking is linked to a host of serious health problems, including lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and heightened risk of various kinds of cancers. Smoking can similarly lead to tooth discoloration and stains.

What many people don't realize, however, is that smoking (and tobacco products in general) can lead to a number of serious problems affecting your dental health and wellness. These problems can increase your risk of tooth loss, especially if you've been a smoker for years.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

Smokers face a greater risk of infection, which translates into a greater likelihood of gum disease (aka periodontal disease). Gum disease is the inflammation of the gum tissue, the result of the oral bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth. (This is the same bacteria responsible for tooth decay and bad breath.)

There are three stages of periodontal disease:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

In early stages the condition is likely to cause gum irritation and bleeding gums, though in later stages it's possible for the gum tissue to be severely inflamed, resulting in loose teeth.

Increased Risk of Gum Recession

Smoking can also lead to an increased risk of gum recession. This refers to the lost of gum tissue and the exposure of more of the tooth root. The gum recession many also be linked to a case of periodontal disease in its later stages.

When gum recession occurs, teeth are less secure in their position, and it's possible to suffer from tooth decay below the gumline, which can result in a nasty infection of the soft tissue inside of the tooth (aka a root canal infection).

Links Between Smoking and Tooth Loss

Given that smoking can lead to gum disease and gum recession, it should come as no surprise that tooth loss is a likely occurrence as well. Some studies suggest that smokers are two times as likely to be missing teeth than non-smokers.

Treatments for Tooth Loss

The ideal treatment for your a patient who is missing teeth will depend on the nature and the extent of the tooth loss they have experienced. For just a missing tooth or two, the use of a dental bridge may be recommended. If many or most of the patient's teeth are missing or have to be extracted due to dental problems, the most ideal option to consider is a denture.

Some patients may benefit from having dental implants placed to support various appliances. These artificial tooth roots offer a secure hold that is comparable to natural tooth roots. All options for care can be discussed in greater detail during the consultation process.

Contact Texas Denture Clinic

For more information about treating tooth loss and helping you have the healthiest smile possible, be sure to contact our advanced dental care center today. The team at Texas Denture Clinic will work with you to ensure you can smile with confidence again.

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