Smokers: Quitting Now May Help You Save Your Teeth

When you visit the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics (at either of our two convenient locations) one of the first questions we’ll ask you is if you smoke. Actually, if you’re a tobacco user in any form we’ll be able to offer unique reasons why you may want to quit from our specialty’s perspective.


Tobacco Usage and Your Oral Health

In 1964, the Surgeon General of the United States issued a report that once and for all formally linked cigarette smoking with lung cancer. As the years passed, studies showed even more sobering facts linking tobacco usage to its harmful effects on nearly every organ in your body —including your gums.

Some facts to keep in mind about tobacco and your oral health:

  • The CDC and other organizations report that smokers have twice the risk of gum disease as compared to non-smokers
  • The longer you smoke, and the more cigarettes you smoke, the greater the risk of gum disease, which has been linked to systemic (throughout the body) disease and some cancers
  • Gum disease treatments may not work as well in smokers
  • Tobacco use in any form raises your risk of gum disease
  • People who smoke produce more plaque that contributes to decay
  • Some studies show that smoking restricts blood flow to the gums, which then effects the nutrients our gums need to offer the healthy support our teeth require

Assessing Your Periodontal Prognosis

To help assess your likelihood of tooth loss, we utilize an evidence-based prognosis tool, an indexed classification we like to call our periodontal report card. Of all the categories we examine when offering a prognosis, smoking is the biggest red flag. Yet our research shows if patients stop smoking and address possible gum disease, they may still be able to keep their natural teeth.

Treating Even Severe Gum Disease

In most situations, periodontists may be able to reverse even periodontal disease (severe gum disease). With treatment protocols like LANAP®, a revolutionary yet minimally invasive procedure, a pulsing laser is used to “zap” infected gum tissue away, leaving healthy tissue behind. Consistent results have shown positive ways of restoring what once may have been otherwise classified as “hopeless” teeth. We also offer other procedures and treatments to tackle gum disease, but will continue to remind smokers of the detrimental effect of this habit on your gum and teeth health.

We know that quitting smoking is very challenging. But losing your teeth as a result is another consequence you may not have considered. Call us to schedule a consultation at 215-677-8686 (NE Philadelphia) or 215-643-4393 (Ambler). You don’t need a referral from your regular dentist.