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Smoking, Tooth Loss, and Dental Implants

It doesn’t matter in what form you smoke or chew tobacco. Your dental professional wants you to know that using it can lead to a long list of oral hygiene problems, including bad breath, gum disease, cancer, and even dental implant failure.

In fact, researchers have found that over a four-year period, dental implants failed nearly three times more often for smokers than non-smokers. Additionally, people that quit smoking had better dental health and lower chances of dental implant failure than people who continued to smoke.

Tooth Loss Due to Smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking weakens your immune system. When you reduce your body’s ability to fight infection, you increase your chances of getting gum disease because smoking makes it difficult for your gums to heal. Additionally, the more and longer you smoke, the greater your risk of gum disease.

The most advanced form of gum disease is periodontitis. Periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth. Eventually your teeth loosen and fall out. Gum disease is the number one reason for tooth loss in adults.

Now is the Time to Stop Smoking

Your dental health professional wants you to know that if you want to decrease your risk of tooth loss, dental implant failure, and other tobacco-related health problems, now is the time to stop smoking.

Specifically, the CDC suggests you:

  • Prepare yourself by removing temptation. This includes eliminating tobacco products from your environment. Don’t hang out around smokers. Find a better substitute, like chewing sugarless gum.
  • Get support from family and friends. Take a smoking cessation class that offers group support and counseling. Have the phone number of someone you can call when you need to talk instead of smoke.
  • Don’t wait, take action. Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy, like over-the-counter patches. Keep yourself busy, so you don’t have time to smoke. Exercise when you feel the urge to smoke.

Whatever you do, talk to your physician and your dental health professional about the steps you can take to stop smoking and save your teeth and gums.

Dental Implants after You Quit Smoking

If you have problems with your teeth due to the effects of long-term smoking, including stained and missing teeth, talk to your dental professional about procedures that can improve your smile. Options such as tooth whitening treatments, veneers, and dental implants, may be the answer.

However, keep in mind that it’s important to quit smoking first. Don’t risk causing further damage to your dental health. Speak with your dental health professional today.

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