Smoking makes it easier for gum disease to occur, makes it more severe and more difficult to eradicate. Therefore, smokers tend to lose their teeth, as a result of smoking related gum disease, much younger than non-smokers.
Thus, we need to treat you more proactively than a non-smoker.
- Gum disease can occur without you even knowing it. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke inhibits your body from growing the new (and fragile) blood vessels that allow your body to fight the infection of gum disease. In non-smokers, these little blood vessels bleed easily during brushing and flossing and it is obvious that they have an infection that needs to be treated.
- Smokers don’t usually have bleeding gums and so they often don’t realise they have gum disease and seek treatment only when it is very advanced, and then it is much harder to control.
In general, gum disease is able to progress more rapidly in smokers, and bursts of disease activity can cause bone loss and tooth mobility in quite a short period of time, especially when other risk factors are also present, e.g. stress.
Ongoing gum disease is strongly linked with an increased risk for heart disease and other serious diseases. We will follow you closely and continually check for the formation of any areas of gum disease. We will also recommend treatment at the earliest signs of disease. Thus, we may recommend that the hygienist sees you more frequently than twice a year
We know through solid research that it takes about 2-3 months for bacteria to reorganize and cause disease. Since it is easier for bacteria to lead to problems, in your case we may need to see you more frequently to make sure that we eliminate any small flare-ups before they turn into bigger problems.
An increasing number of research studies are suggesting that second hand smoke can increase the risk for gum disease. It is important for other members of your household to be screened for the presence of gum disease.
You are also at a much higher risk of developing mouth cancer, over 75% of mouth cancers are smoking related.
Obviously quitting smoking altogether is probably the best thing you could do for your general and oral health.