Tobacco and gum disease

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Tobacco use has been associated with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other problems.

Whether one ips, chews or smokes it, tobacco will increase your chances of having periodontitis. Smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to form calculus on their teeth, have deeper pockets, and have more destruction of the gum and bone around the teeth.

Dipping or chewing will result in receding gums, the loss of bone and fibres that hold teeth in the mouth, and eventually loss of teeth. A smoker also has a much higher chance of developing oral cancer.

Nicotine and tar are harmful chemicals found in tobacco, and are the culprits that aggravate periodontitis. Plaque and calculus accumulate much easier. The outcome of periodontal treatment is much less successful if a person continues smoking.

Smoking increases the risk of:

  • oral cancer
  • bad breath
  • stained teeth
  • tooth loss
  • bone loss
  • loss of taste and smell
  • less success with periodontal treatment
  • less success with dental implants
  • gum recession
  • mouth sores

Quitting takes commitment. Join a tobacco-cessation programme, or talk to your dentist or physician.

- (Dr Ilona Visser, dentist)

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