The legal age to purchase tobacco products of any kind in the United States is 18. If a smoker picks up the habit on their 18th birthday, and smokes a pack a day until they’re 35, they will lose an average of four or five teeth. Smoking can also cause additional, serious oral health problems. At my dental office in Staten Island, we want to explain just how harmful a smoking habit can be to your health.
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that smokers are seven times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers, and of all diagnosed cases of adult gum disease, 75% can be linked to cigarettes. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that grow and thrive in plaque. And it’s not just a mouth’s problem. Gum disease has been link to heart disease, stroke, and difficulty controlling blood sugar, all things that smoking already does without the help of gum disease. Once gum disease is active, it can destroy the tissue around your teeth, causing pain, bleeding while brushing or flossing, and even tooth loss.
Research conducted by The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) concluded that smokers are definitely at increased risk for tooth loss than non-smokers. One of the reasons for that is the higher chance for gum disease. On average, for every 10 years of smoking, men will lose 2.9 teeth and women will lose 1.5.
Since cigarette smoke first touches your lips and the inside of your mouth, that area becomes at increased risk for being affected by the vast amount of dangerous chemicals found in each and every cigarette. Among those 4000 chemicals? 43 are known to cause cancer. Take some of these stats about oral cancer:
- 90% of those with oral cancer have used tobacco
- Smokers are six time more likely to develop some type of oral cancer
- Smoke from tobacco products can cause cancer in the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus
Whole Body Concerns
As we all know, smoking can lead to really scary whole-body concerns like lung cancer, heart disease, and premature death. On a more superficial level, smoking leads to tooth discoloration, bad breath, and premature aging.
If you’re a smoker, it’s even more important to keep up with regular visits to my Staten Island dental office, and it’s just as important for us to know if you smoke. We won’t judge you but we will encourage you to quit, both for the health of your smile and for your body.
Serving patients from Staten Island, Prince’s Bay, Tottenville, and surrounding areas.