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Smokers More Likely To Lose Their Teeth

A new study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, has determined that regular smokers have a significantly increased risk of tooth loss. The primary reason is thought to be periodontitis (AKA Gum Disease). Tooth loss is usually as a result of caries (tooth decay) or chronic periodontitis, since smoking is a strong risk factor for periodontitis this goes a long way towards explaining the higher rate of tooth loss in smokers.

There is a twist thrown into the equation. Smoking can mask gum bleeding, usually the key symptom of periodontitis. This means smokers often don’t get the same early warning signals that non-smokers do. The result is that smokers don’t know they have periodontitis until the disease has progressed.

The upside to this tale of woe, and yes there is, thankfully, an upside, is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk of periodontitis fairly quickly. In time an ex-smoker will end up with the same risk for tooth loss as a non-smoker. It can take up to 10 years to level the playing field but the good news is it can be done.

Your dentist is committed to helping you improve your dental health. This includes smoking cessation counselling so if you have decided that enough is enough, see Dr. Lathangue for a check-up and ask for assistance to stop smoking. With a little help, you CAN do it and your teeth will thank you for it! Contact Dogwood Dental Health Center to make an appointment.