Dental Concerns and Tobacco Use

by on July 4, 2013 in Family Dentistry
Dental Concerns and Tobacco Use

The implications of tobacco use on your oral health are far reaching. Most people know of the general risks tobacco can have, but when considering dental care, the effects are numerous and sometimes fatal.

Are Some Tobacco Products Safer Than Others?

No. All tobacco products are risky to use. The side effects of tobacco in cigarettes, pipes, and smokeless tobacco (chew) all heighten the risks of gum disease, cancer, and cause other oral concerns.

Oral Health Concerns

Some of the dental problems that result from tobacco use are:

  • Bad breath
  • Bone loss within the jaw (alveolar bone loss)
  • Increased plaque and tartar buildup
  • Increased likelihood of leukoplakia
  • Increased risk of gum disease
  • Increased chance of oral cancers 
  • Inflamed salivary glands
  • Reduced effectiveness of oral surgery procedures and recovery
  • Yellowing of teeth

Nicotine and other toxins in tobacco increase the levels of food that dissolve into your teeth and gums. The chemicals stain tooth enamel, giving your teeth a yellow coloration, and causes foods and sugars to further damage the tooth’s natural coating. Good oral healthcare practices can help reduce this effect, but the onset of periodontal disease, also known as gingivitis, is still a major problem for tobacco users. This can lead to cavities and if not corrected early, painful and expensive root canals or dental implants will be required.

The Journal of the American Dental Association published the results of a 23-year long study that indicated tobacco use corresponds to an increase in bone loss within the jaw, called alveolar bone loss, and tooth loss. This can result in expensive and often painful procedures requiring dental implants and dental bridges. It also increases chances of developing oral cancers, in both the mouth and throat, which can be fatal.

Reducing Risks and Improving Oral Health

For tobacco users, the best solution is to quit. This can be done through a variety of methods including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Counseling
  • E-cigarettes
  • Hypnosis
  • Medications
  • Nicotine patch
  • Nicotine gum
  • Or simply quitting cold turkey

Whether you choose to quit or not, additional dental assistance is available. Everyone should visit their dentist in Cambridge at least twice a year, but tobacco users should consider more frequent cleanings and inspections.

If you need to set up your next appointment with a dentist in the Cambridge area, we would be happy to have you at our Fresh Pond Dental office. Give us a call today.

See Related articles

  Protect Your Teeth From Grinding with a Night Guard   Smile Makeover Gallery   Concern about Cavities for Seniors   Your dentist in Cambridge, MA   Lifelong Oral Health Suggestions
Call us now!
888-717-1692
Request Appointment here
* Coupon should be presented at the time of appointment. Coupons cannot be combined with insurance policies, other special offers and any discounts. One coupon per person.

Hours Of Operation

Monday 9:00AM - 6:00PM
Tuesday 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Wednesday 9:00AM - 6:00PM
Thursday 9:30AM - 6:30PM
Friday 9:30AM - 5:00PM
Saturday 9:00AM - 3:00PM
Sunday Closed

Our Location

180 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02138
Located at Fresh Pond Mall next to Whole Foods store

Payment Options

MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, cash and Care Credit

Insurance

We accept all major insurance plans such as Delta Dental, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, MetLife, Altus and many more. We also accept Mass Health, Commonwealth Care Plans (type I) and United Health Care SCO. Do not hesitate to call our treatment coordinators if you have any questions or concerns regarding your insurance benefits