Everyone knows that smoking is a very unhealthy and harmful habit. Not only is it a major cause of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer, but also smoking affects nearly every organ in the body, including the gums. It is clear that smoking reduces the level of health in general, but this article will deal only with oral repercussions.
Gingivitis And Periodontitis
Gum disease is an infection that starts with dental plaque, which contains harmful bacteria and microorganisms. This plaque accumulates at the junction between the gums and teeth, and if it is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it eventually becomes tartar. The bacteria containing plaque and tartar cause infection and inflammation of the gingival margin. This is called gingivitis, which is the first step of gum disease.
If gingivitis worsens, little spaces called periodontal pockets start to develop between the gums and teeth. These pockets are not visible to the naked eye, and appear following the fact that the infection has reached and destroyed the alveolar bone, which is the bone that holds the teeth in place. When alveolar bone begins to deteriorate, the gum disease stage is called periodontitis.
Gum Disease And Smoking
Smoking helps cause gum disease in two ways. It reduces the production of saliva, and it damages the body’s ability to fight off infection.Saliva is necessary for oral health because it helps wash bacteria from the teeth, so less saliva means more plaque. Saliva also contains disease-fighting antibodies that help fight destructive bacteria in the mouth.
Smoking damages your immune system by causing blood vessels to constrict throughout your entire body. This constriction reduces the flow of infection-fighting white blood cells, oxygen, and nutrients to the gums, making them more susceptible to infection.
Smoking After Gum Treatment
Smoking not only makes gum disease worse, but it also makes gums very hard to heal after gum treatment is done. A gum treatment involves the removal of tartar and infected tissue that are found under the gums and within the pockets created by the disease. This can be done surgically when the pockets are very deep. A non-surgical approach can be used when pockets are less deep, and the treatment is done under local anesthesia. Maintaining good oral hygiene is an important factor for a successful gum treatment, and this includes smoking cessation.