Smoking and Gum health

Tobacco smoking is a significant risk factor for gum disease. Smokers are 4 times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. Smoking can affect gum health by causing changes in the blood flow to the gums, alter the functions of the immune cells, increases the number of bacteria in oral cavity and also smoking makes it difficult to eliminate these pathogens by routine dental cleaning.

Hundreds of different compounds have been identified in tobacco smoke and some occur in concentrations judged to be harmful to oral and general health. Tobacco smoke contains noxious chemicals such as Nicotine, Carbon monoxide and Tar all of which can cause serious oral diseases. Smokers have much less gum bleeding and redness than others even though their mouths are not healthy, due to the presence of these harmful chemicals. This can lead to the false impression that the gums are healthy. It is therefore very important that tobacco smokers have regular dental exams to evaluate their gum health.

Smoking maybe responsible for more than half of the gum disease among adults. Researches have shown that smokers showed significantly more bone loss compared to non- smokers. Following gum treatment, healing is usually less favorable in smokers as compared to nonsmokers. Smoking is considered to have a more deleterious effect on wound healing and explains why smokers respond less favorably to gum therapy.

Smokers are considered poor candidates for successful gum care. It is also observed that current smokers have less healing and reduction in the number of oral bacteria after treatment compared to former smokers and non-smokers, suggesting that smoking impairs gum healing. Therefore, it is advisable not to smoke or use tobacco products for at least a week or more following dental treatment.

Last updated on 10 December, 2018.

 Ask a doctor  Look for a doctor near you