Why Should You Quit Smoking?

May 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 3:43 pm

If you smoke, you’ve undoubtedly heard dozens of reasons why you should stop. A lower life expectancy, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack… all of these are more likely among smokers than among their non-smoking peers. If you needed a few more reasons to quit smoking, here are some ways the habit negatively affects your oral health.

Smoking Makes Gum Disease Worse

Smoking can cause or exacerbate gum disease. Why? First, it tends to dry out the oral tissues, leading to more fragility in the gums. As they dry, they pull away from the teeth, leaving a handy spot for bacteria to hang out. Smoking also affects the tiny capillaries bringing oxygen to the gum tissues, which can make it take longer for small abrasions to heal.

Smoking Can Lead to Tooth Loss

As the gum tissues dry out and become more unhealthy, the bone underneath also begins to erode. This can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Also, if you have oral surgery, you’re at risk for infection and complications if you keep smoking. You’ll be more likely to keep your teeth if you quit smoking.

Smoking Has Cosmetic Effects, Too

Of course, you might be mainly concerned about the immediate cosmetic effects of smoking. Yellowed teeth and halitosis (bad breath) are common maladies experienced by smokers. Teeth whitening doesn’t work well if you continue smoking while you undergo the treatment. And while good oral hygiene can help with bad breath, the fact is that cigarettes and frequent gum infections will cause halitosis despite your best efforts.

It is hard to quit smoking. The good news is that there are several products and behavior modification techniques that can help. Your physician is a good source of information on how you can kick the habit. Talk to your doctor or dentist today about how you can stop smoking and achieve better oral health (and overall health).

Gum Disease and Your Heart

November 2, 2017

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 4:00 pm

You might not know this, but if you have gingivitis or periodontitis, the mild and severe stages of gum disease, respectively, you could be putting your heart at risk. At the same time, if you have heart problems, it’s very important that you take good care of your gums. What’s the connection? Read on to find out.

Gum Health Affects the Heart

If you have gum disease, there is more bacteria than normal in your gum tissue. This bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and attach to fatty deposits in the blood vessels. This can cause the deposits to break off and head toward the heart, which can cause a heart attack. If the bacteria travels to the heart, you’re also at risk for heart infection. This is particularly true if you have certain heart conditions already.

Preventing Problems With Good Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene can make it less likely that you will have heart problems caused by gum disease. Be sure to brush twice daily and to floss every night before bed. Also, see your dentist regularly. Follow his or her advice regarding how often you should have your teeth cleaned; some people need to go more often than twice yearly, particularly if they have gum disease.

Ask Whether You Need Antibiotics

There are certain heart conditions that make infections more likely. If you have had recent surgery or if you have an artificial heart valve or any other heart condition, check with your cardiologist as to whether you should take antibiotics before having dental work (including cleanings). Be sure to follow the directions; many protocols call for a very large dose of antibiotics one or two hours before the appointment. If you are prescribed antibiotics for a gum infection, take them as directed and don’t stop taking them early unless your doctor or dentist tells you to.

Your gum health is essential to protecting your heart. Talk to your dentist about how you can preserve the health of your heart by combating gum disease.