Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

3610 N. Josey Ln. Suite 104, Carrollton, TX

Dental Concerns for Smokers

Dental Concerns for Smokers

The dangers of smoking are well known to many people, but the particular dangers of smoking that affect dental health are somewhat less familiar. At The Hamptons Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Darian Hampton and his staff are committed to helping you learn about the risks smoking and other forms of tobacco can have on your teeth.

At a very basic level, smoking can interfere with the formation of normal gum tissue cells, along with impacting the ability of soft tissue and bone to attach to the teeth. Smokers can experience many complications and problems, including:

  • Increased risk of oral cancer
  • Bad breath
  • Impaired flow of blood to the gums
  • Tooth decay
  • Build up of plaque and tartar
  • Loss of bone in the jaw
  • Delayed recovery after tooth extractions and periodontal surgery
  • Increased risk of gum disease and leukoplakia (white spots in the mouth)

Gingivitis and Leukoplakia

Two signs of potential oral cancer include leukoplakia and gingivitis (early stage gum disease).

Gingivitis can cause dusky red or swollen gums that bleed easily, especially when brushing the teeth. Gingivitis may appear mild, but since it can be a precursor to more serious gum disease — periodontitis — it should be taken seriously. Multiple studies indicate that people who smoke are at far greater risk for contracting periodontal (gum) disease than non-smokers.

Leukoplakia can lead to thick, whitish patches that form on the gums, inside of the cheeks, on the bottom of the mouth and occasionally on the tongue. Although most leukoplakia patches are benign, some indicate early stages of cancer. Raised, red lesions are more likely to be pre-cancerous symptoms.

Tongue Discoloration

Beyond the increased potential for serious diseases, smoking can cause unpleasant side effects such as:

  • Build up of plaque and tartar
  • Black Hairy Tongue (a condition that causes the tongue to become yellow, green, black or brown and hairy)

To minimize some of the negative effects of smoking on oral health, there are toothpastes and mouthwashes that are specially created for smokers. Also, smokers should use a toothbrush with stiff bristles to combat some of the potential problems noted above.

It is advisable to check with your dentist if you have signs of changes in your mouth such as gray, red, or white patches or increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods. To evaluate your dental treatment options or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hampton, please contact us today.