Lakewood Dental Dentists in Dallas, TX, Explain Smoking, Vaping, and Your Oral Health 

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health. Even cigarette manufacturers are forced to put warning notices on their own packaging. But many smokers may think these claims are exaggerated. In fact, they are not. As your dentists in Dallas, TX, explain in this post, smoking is one of the worst things you […]

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health. Even cigarette manufacturers are forced to put warning notices on their own packaging. But many smokers may think these claims are exaggerated. In fact, they are not. As your dentists in Dallas, TX, explain in this post, smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your oral health, and it can greatly increase your need for restorative dentistry. And it turns out that vaping, often touted as a healthier alternative, is not much better. 

Fortunately, even if you have been a habitual smoker for years, it’s never too late to quit. And at Lakewood Dental Group, Drs. Shaun Sigurdson and Mihir Patel can restore teeth and correct the damage that may have occurred because of smoking. Whether you need a simple cosmetic treatment, a full mouth reconstruction, or advanced periodontal care, we want to help you enjoy a healthier smile than you may have had in years. 

To learn more about how we can treat your smoking-related dental damage or to schedule an appointment, contact our dentists in Dallas, TX, today.

Smoking and Dental Stains 

One of the most benign (but noticeable) effects of smoking is that it can cause pronounced tooth discoloration. This is because cigarette smoke contains nicotine and tar, both of which can leave stained molecules clinging to your teeth. Over time, your teeth could develop a yellow or even a brown hue

Fortunately, your dentists in Dallas, TX, provide multiple treatments to brighten stained teeth. We offer in-office and take-home teeth whitening. Both options can lighten your smile by several shades. Be aware, however, that teeth whitening is not permanent, and future smoking will reverse the results. If your stains are particularly severe, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers or dental bonding. These treatments will fully cover stained teeth, using thin porcelain shells or composite resin, respectively. 

Smoking and Tooth Decay

Smoking can also greatly increase your risk for cavities. In fact, 40% of smoking adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated tooth decay. This is because cigarette smoke reduces the flow of saliva, which helps to wash away bacteria. As microbes build up, plaque and tartar will form. Bacteria can then penetrate the inside of your tooth, creating a cavity. 

Smoking and Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common risks associated with smoking. In addition to causing tooth decay, the reduction of saliva contributes to the development of gum disease. Plus, smoking reduces your body’s ability to fight off infection by decreasing the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. 

As bacteria accumulate in your mouth, they can move below the gum line, causing redness, inflammation, and bleeding. Left untreated, you will experience gum recession. As your soft tissues pull away from your tooth roots, you could suffer from widespread tooth loss. In fact, 43% of seniors who smoke have no remaining teeth

But tooth loss is not inevitable. Our dentists in Dallas, TX, offer several non-surgical periodontal treatments to reverse early-stage gingivitis and keep more advanced periodontitis under control. These treatments include scaling and root planing and antibiotics. Of course, to truly protect your teeth and gums, it is also important that you quit smoking.

If you have already lost teeth, we offer multiple restorative solutions. Bridges and dentures are two traditional and very common options. Dental implants are an advanced solution, which can replace both your teeth and your tooth roots. Thus, they are more stable than other restorations, and they can prevent bone recession and future tooth loss. 

Smoking and Oral Cancer

Smoking can cause cancer nearly anywhere in the body, though lung cancer and oral cancer are particularly common. This is because smoking can actually change the structure of your cells’ DNA. Then it blocks your body’s ability to fight off cancer. 

If you are a current or former smoker, it is all the more important that you schedule your routine dental checkups. Our dentists in Dallas, TX, will perform an oral cancer screening at every appointment. Your practitioner will look for the early signs of oral cancer. These can include: 

  • White or red patches on the gums
  • Sores on the inside of the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Ear pain
  • Lumps on the gums or other soft tissues
  • Numbness or pain in the mouth

Quitting smoking provides remarkably quick benefits for your physical and oral health. After you have quit smoking for 5 to 10 years, your risk of developing oral cancer drops by 50%. When you have quit for 20 years, your risk of oral cancer is about the same as someone who has never smoked. 

Is vaping really a better alternative?

Thinking that it will not harm their health, many smokers have turned to smokeless tobacco, or vaping, as a safer alternative. Vaping is particularly common among adolescents and youth. But the fact is, though marginally less harmful than cigarette use, vaping can still have significant effects on your oral and overall physical health

Vaping pens contain lead and other heavy metals, nicotine, formaldehyde, and many other chemicals. As a result, like cigarette smokers, those who vape are more likely to experience dry mouth and resulting tooth decay. Further, vaping could also increase your risk of oral cancer.

 Because the phenomenon is so new, there have been no widespread studies showing that vaping directly causes cancer. However, a recent study out of USC reveals that e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers have the same molecular changes in the cells in their mouths. Though these changes are not cancerous, they can be an early warning sign of cancer. Further, experts warn that, though the amount of carcinogens in vaping devices is lower than in cigarettes, there is no safe level of carcinogen exposure.

Contact Great Dentists in Dallas to Restore Your Oral Health 

Whether you are a current or a former smoker, quality dental care is essential to protect your teeth, gums, and overall health. In fact, you may need more than two checkups a year for maximum protection. 

To schedule an appointment with compassionate and experienced dentists in Dallas, TX, contact Lakewood Dental Group today. 

Schedule an appointment online or call us at (214) 827-1885. 

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