An estimated 46 million people light cigarettes daily. The gritty effects of cigarettes don’t just dull smiles, but cause permanent loss.
The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that men who smoke lose an average of 2.9 teeth and women an average of 1.5 teeth for every 10 years that they smoke.
Factoring in lifespan, an average male smoker may respectively lose up to 14.5 teeth, and women smokers up to 7.5 teeth over the course of a lifetime. Reports by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggest that nearly 8% of smokers have lost all permanent teeth.
“Oral health is often left out of the overall conversation about wellness, however a majority of major chronic conditions manifest in the mouth,” says Dr. Leslie Renee Townsend, DDS., Dental Director for Jefferson Dental Clinics.
Smokers experience elevated rates of gum disease, as cigarette smoke breaks down the soft tissue and bone that anchor teeth into the jaw. As jaw tissue and bone erode, pockets develop around the teeth where bacteria and plaque accumulate.
“Prolonged erosion can lead to tooth decay and eventual loss, as the pockets in the gums deepen and the bone wears away,” says Dr. Townsend.
Many smokers opt for dental implants to replace lost teeth from years of smoking. Dental work such as crowns and bridges are affected by bone recession, and smokers that seek implants and oral surgeries may have a lower success rate and longer recovery-time than non-smokers.
“Dental exams can help manage symptoms and screen for conditions, however the best way to combat the effects of smoking is to stop all together,” says Dr. Townsend. “Speak with your dentist about your oral health risks.”
Moreover, preventative care, including twice daily brushing and flossing and a plan to quit smoking, is a sure way to reduce the risk of developing symptoms.
For more oral health facts, visit www.jeffersondentalclinics.com.