Know the potential effects of occasional cigar smoking and dental health

Know the potential effects of occasional cigar smoking and dental health

You probably already know that even occasional cigar smoking is bad for your lungs and heart, but it can also be detrimental for your dental health. Smoking leads to a host of dental problems, including a higher risk of developing oral cancer, gum disease and leukoplakia, a disease that causes white patches to grow inside the mouth. Cigar smoking also causes tooth discoloration, bad breath, a build up of tartar and plaque on the teeth and may lead to loss of bone in the jaw.

According to a 23-year long study conducted by the American Dental Association, cigar smokers experience jawbone loss and tooth loss at the same rate as cigarette smokers. Even if cigar smokers do not inhale, they are still at a greatly increased risk of developing oral and throat cancers.

More than 50 percent of adult smokers have periodontal disease, and smoking cigars makes treatment for gum disease less effective. Without proper treatment, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to lose their teeth. They are also twice as likely to require root canal treatment at some point in their lives.

Cigar smokers need oral surgeries and dental treatments more often than non-smokers, but tobacco limits the body’s ability to fight infections. This means that the risk of developing an infection is greater, and smokers take longer to recovery from dental surgeries and procedures.

The unprocessed tobacco leaves used to wrap cigars are filled with small particles that wear down the teeth. Over time, exposure to the abrasive paste that forms when the wrappers mix with saliva and are chewed can lead to tooth loss.

Be sure to discuss any questions you have about cigar smoking and dental health with your South Riding dentist during your next appointment.

About the Author

Dr. Sowmya Kanumilli is an experienced family and cosmetic dentist in Aldie, Virginia. Connect with her on Google+

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