Smoking is known as one of the worst vices for health; the act of lighting and inhaling tobacco smoke has been known to contribute to health issues including heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, premature birth, birth defects, oral cancer and gum disease. Although the fact is that smokers have more dental problems than their non-tobacco using counterparts, they visit the dentist less often.
The findings have come courtesy of a government survey, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The organization reviewed over 16,000 surveys completed by adults aged 18 to 64 (2008). The results indicated that although more than a third of smokers admitted to having dental problems, 20 percent of that group skipped the dentist for the past five years.
The reasons for skipping the dentist vary from dental anxiety to apathy to dental neglect to every excuse in between. Although the smokers interviewed for the government research project were well aware of the negative side-effects they experienced because of their vice (including dental problems such as tooth discoloration, toothaches, jaw pain and gum infections), their reasons for skipping the dentist was as simple as not having the cash to pay for professional dental care.
Because of their habit, smokers are the most vulnerable demographic for dental problems. Even though the habit of lighting up and breathing in tobacco is as old as time itself, as society has evolved so has the medical position on the habit. Over the years smoking has been exposed as a vile and highly addictive habit with absolutely no health benefits to the consume. The processes of inhaling and exhaling the mix of chemicals and toxins in cigarettes have been found to contribute to a myriad of health issues and for causing countless dental problems such as bad breath, tooth-decay, cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and tooth loss.
High levels of dental plaque appear to the cause of the dental issues. 1-800-DENTIST defines dental plaque as being the "sticky invisible film that accumulates on your teeth -- on the biting surfaces, in the spaces between the teeth, and along the gum line." That film is actually a group of oral bacteria, the microscopic critters that live in every mouth and are responsible for removing starch and sugars deposited on teeth after eating. The bacterium will digest those trace compounds and produce an acidic byproduct as a result; it is that consequence that contributes to dental problems such as cavities and tooth decay. Smoking is another behavior that stimulates plaque development and the subsequent dental health issues.
When that dental plaque is allowed to stay in place and build, the result can be harden dental tartar and potentially gum disease as the bacterium can limit the bodies ability to fight of oral infection. Tobacco consumption inhibits the normal of activity of cells and gums are incredibly sensitive to smoke. Overtime, smoking can cripple gum tissue and that can create a separation of gum from teeth, deep periodontal pockets and abscesses and all the dental problems associated with the destruction of the oral cavity.
Many smokers have a love/hate relationship with their habit and accept the fact that quitting the behavior would be the best way to fight back against the health issues caused by the habit. While it may be tough to kick cigarettes, the benefits are nearly immediate; within 20 minutes of smoking cessation blood pressure, pulse rate and hand and feet temperature will all return to normal; after a scant 48 hours a body will test 100% nicotine-free. After that, the body will work diligently on trying to repair the damage done.
If however the thought of smoking cessation is too much, smokers must pay extra attention to other behaviors that impact dental health. That means eating the healthiest diet possible, skipping soda and dedicating daily efforts to a good oral hygiene regime. Scheduling and attending regular dental appointments is also an essential behavior, despite the trend stating otherwise.
A dentist can quickly find all the dental problems caused by smoking and administer the dental treatments necessary for correcting many of the issues. It is important to note, that a dentist can only do so much and even after a patient spends hours in a dental clinic getting the work necessary to combat the dental problems caused by their vices, smoking another cigarette will start another vicious cycle of declining oral health. Regardless of if you are a patient looking for a dentist to improve your smokers mouth or to assist in the smoking cessation process, 1-800-DENTIST can help you find a dentist up to the task.