Do you need one more reason to quit smoking? If so, here it is: smoking 15 cigarettes a day triples your chance of tooth loss. More specifically, male smokers under 50 lose 3.6 times as many teeth as non-smokers; female smokers under 50 lose 2.5 times as many teeth as non-smokers. This data is from a longitudinal study in Germany that followed over 23,000 people for 5 years, and the findings are independent of other risk factors such as diabetes.
So if you’re a smoker, is it too late to save your teeth? Absolutely not! The rate of tooth lose is dose-dependent, with light smokers losing less teeth than heavy smokers. And after giving up smoking completely, the risk of tooth loss drops quickly. Eventually, an ex-smoker would have the same risk for tooth loss as someone who had never smoked, although this can take more than 10 years.
Why do smokers have such a tendency to lose teeth? Smokers are more susceptible to periodontal disease, which is the loss of bone around your teeth. Smoking reduces the blood flow to the gum tissue, reducing the supply of nutrients to your gums. It decreases the amount of saliva, which has bracteria-killing antibodies. Smokers also have less white blood cells, and the cells are impaired. With less and weaker white blood cells, the body is less effective at fighting bacterial infection. Bacteria in the mouth release chemicals that cause bone resorption, causing periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Of course, smoking also causes cancer, strokes, and many other problems. Add one more to the list! If you are concerned about tooth loss and need a North Scottsdale dentist, give Enamor Dentistry a call! Dr. Melander does a complete periodontal exam and cancer screening for all new patients.