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    February 13, 2011

    Smoking and its effect on your oral health

    Smoking and your mouth.... the facts and a review of the literature.

    Around 23% of adult Australians are smokers. 92% of these smoke daily. Sales for tabacco products in 2007 were close to $750 million.
    Smoking has serious consequences for yourself and those around you. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body.
    Smoking "low" nicotine cigarettes provides no clear benefits to health.

    Smoking is a significant risk factor for gum disease. Gum disease is 2-3 times more progressive in smokers and is related to how many cigarettes you smoke.
    Having good oral hygiene DOES NOT reduce the effects of smoking on oral health.
    Smoking also reduces the efficacy of treatment of periodontal disease.

    Smoking effects our gums in three ways

    1. Reduces oxygen and therefore encourages nastier bacteria around the gums. Although this does need further study.

    2.Smoking impairs the blood vessels in the gums and therefore our bodies protection from the bacteria. Smokers often find less bleeding of the gums,which is one of the warning signs of gum disease, but a greater amount of destruction occurs.
    3. Our bodies response to the plaque. Nicotine affects the bodies immune system and inhibits our protective response in many ways. Including inflammatory response, healing and revascularisation.
    Does quitting help?
    More studies are required. Some of the effects can be reversed however only part of the damage can be repaired.

    Other affects of smoking include

    1. Bad breath
    2. Staining and discolouration of teeth and fillings
    3.Of course not the least and probably the most significant result is oral cancer and throat cancer. The 6th most common cancer diagnosed where mortality rates are close to 50%
    Particularly if you are a smoker please have regular dental check-ups to help reduce the effects of smoking on your oral health and also make sure your health professional performs an oral cancer check every 12 months.
    Please feel free to contact me on facebook or at caroline@mdtdental.com.au
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