Costa Rica News – World No Tobacco Day has just passed and Prisma Dental in Costa Rica has provided information about the destruction that tobacco smoking causes on your teeth, mouth, and gums. Smoking increases the risk of losing teeth, as it is a key factor in developing periodontal or gum disease, according to the World Health Organization.
Inflammation of the tissue that surrounds teeth could lead to infection. This could potentially destroy the bone and ligament when it reaches deep in this tissue, causing teeth loss.
During inhalation, permanence, and expulsion of toxic and irritating elements of tobacco smoke, damage to the teeth and mouth are produced; such as swelling and bleeding of the gums, cavities, weakness of tooth enamel, stains, cancer, bone loss, etc.
Tobacco exposes tooth roots, increasing the presence and quantity of plaque and elevating the risk of developing cavities, due to the acidity produced which disintegrates tissue. This acidity attacks the enamel first, then the dentine, and lastly the tooth´s pulp, which can also cause tooth loss.
Tobacco smoke forms a resinous film in the tooth enamel mostly from nicotine and tar, which in conjunction to plaque, will stain teeth in a yellowish color which affects the esthetic of the smile.
This film needs to be cleaned adequately to prevent it from forming tartar, since by containing cigarette smoke components it can cause a dark color that will negatively affect not only the health but the attractiveness of the mouth.
Smokers also suffer from diminishing salivary secretion, which decreases the neutralizing capacity of plaque, forcing smokers to have optimal oral hygiene, even more than those people who don´t smoke. Smokers also have a tendency of consuming sugary drinks, not many fruit, and eating in between meals, which is why cleanings must also be more regular and thorough.
Besides all of the issues mentioned before that smokers develop with their addiction, the most severe is cancer, which can be present in the mouth, lips, throat, tonsils, esophagus, larine, and salivary glands. Late detection of this disease implies surgery and chemotherapy.
Other oral complications that smokers can have are: taste reduction, wound healing difficulty, and a hard and red spotted palate due to the contraction of blood vessels.
Recommendations and dental treatments for smokers:
Due to being in constant contact with tobacco smoke, smokers must visit the dentists twice a year to establish a detail control of the condition of their mouth and teeth, especially if the patient presents any of the following symptoms:
• Difficulty in swallowing or chewing foods
• Pain in the gums, teeth, or mouth
• Cheeks or mandible inflammation
• Bloody sores
• Decrease or sensitivity loss
• Red or white stains in the oral area
When a patient has had tooth loss, it is imperative that they will go to a specialist to define what treatment can be performed to replace this tooth. Treatment can be either bridges or dental implants. However, dental implants have been known to fail in smoking patients. The specialist needs to evaluate if the person is a candidate for this treatment.
The stains produced by tobacco smoke can be decreased or eliminated with periodic cleanings, and with laser whitening as well.