Smoking & Gum Disease

Las Vegas gum disease and smoking: what you must know

It’s no surprise that smoking hurts unborn babies, scars lungs and compromises cardiovascular health. However, did you know that cigarette, cigar and pipe tobacco increases the risk for gum disease?

What’s the big deal about gum disease?

Gum disease, from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontitis, is a major cause of tooth loss among American adults. From causing bleeding and swollen gums to bone recession, tooth sensitivity and mobility and tooth loss, gum disease seriously impacts oral health.

Gum disease originates in the biofilm (plaque and tartar) that forms on and between teeth and at the gum line. Food residues missed by brushing and flossing collect and hold toxic oral bacteria. These microorganisms infect and inflame gum tissue, making it pull away from tooth surfaces and roots.

According to the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, experts in placement of dental implants, oral bacteria contained in biofilm are linked to widespread systemic diseases such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

That’s why good at-home and in-office dental hygiene is so important. Semi-annual professional cleanings with Michael G. Hollingshead, DDS’s skilled staff removes plaque and tartar. The dental hygienist also painlessly measures gum pocket depth with a periodontal probe. When pockets, the spaces between teeth and gums, are deeper than 4 mm, damage to bone and gums has already occurred, and treatment becomes necessary.

Diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis

Dr. Hollingshead performs periodontal therapy right in his Las Vegas office. Tooth scaling and root planing removes tartar and smoothes root surfaces. He instills anti-microbial medication to heal infection. Routine periodontal maintenance keeps gums pink, healthy and infection-free. Dr. Hollingshead determines how frequently patients require this simple treatment.

Smoking and gum disease in Las Vegas

An important way to avoid gum disease or stop its progression is smoking cessation. The National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research says that smokers--whether pipe, cigarette or cigar--have twice the risk for developing gum disease. Also, it’s harder to treat active gum disease in a smoker; the treatments simply do not work as well as with non-smokers.

Dental researchers cite several reasons for the increased risk in smokers:

  • Smokers suffer from dry mouth, or xerostomia, because smoke damages the salivary glands. This lack of cleansing saliva damages both tooth enamel and gums, making them prone to decay and gum disease.
  • In general, smokers have reduced microcirculation, including the blood vessels in the oral mucosa--gums, lips, tongue and so on.
  • The heat from tobacco smoke causes keratosis, a thickening of the soft tissues of the mouth, including the gums.

Talk with Dr. Hollingshead

Set-up a consultation with Top Las Vegas dentist, Dr. Hollingshead. He will perform a complete oral exam, including checking your gums for signs of gingivitis or periodontitis. Ask him about the causes of gum disease, including the impact smoking has on oral health. Contact the office today for a convenient appointment.