So you have considered quitting smoking? It’s too expensive, you can only smoke in your garage, and people avoid your smoke plumes. If that wasn’t enough let me nudge you a bit further to making the final decision to quit. Consider your mouth, throat and lungs to be the inside of your chimney. It gets black and sooty in your body as well as your chimney.
Sadly most of my patients that require a lot of dental work in their adult years have a history of smoking. This results in more dental chair time and expense. Furthermore, the chances of a favorable long term outcome from treatment are diminished due to smoking. Let me explain why this is so.
First, smoking increases the chance of acquiring oral cancerous lesions. These lesions are painful to remove and healing is slow and painful. Also, oral cancer can kill you.
Tobacco smoke can cause white patches and brown patches to develop in the mouth. White patches can be precancerous and brown patches may be due from increased melanin pigmentation. Regardless, your mouth has changed for the worse.
Tobacco smoking will increase the severity of gingivitis and periodontitis. I can’t save teeth if there is no supporting bone to hold them in place. Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is a condition where the gums in between the teeth become very sore and chewing is difficult. A higher percentage of my patients with this diagnosis are smokers.
Smoking can cause delayed wound healing by diminishing the blood flow. Also, the microfiber attachment of the gums to the teeth breakdown and allow bacterial infiltration in the deepened crevices.
Smoking will cause chronic coughing and sinus infections as the body recoils from the ash that gets in the airways. This increased inflammatory load on the body can diminish the immune system. Consequently, fungal infections and ulcerations will occur.
On the lighter side smoking can create a condition of black hairy tongue (looks just like it sounds) altered taste, bad breath and tooth stains.
I know that most of you reading this are not smokers. Avoidance and denial keep smokers from seeing warning signs. However, you might have friends or loved ones (children) that smoke and you would like to help them quit. I hope I have given you enough ammunition as a dentist to be of help.
For answers to your dental questions, contact:
Douglas Urban, D.D.S.
Cerritos, CA 90703