gum health

Smoking Puts Your Oral Health At Risk

DID YOU KNOW that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States? It’s well known that smoking can lead to a number of lung-related diseases but in reality, the negative effects of smoking can be seen in almost every part of the body, especially the mouth.


Smoking Compromises Your Oral Health

Among other cancers, smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, approximately eight out of 10 patients with oral cancer are smokers. Smoking remains the biggest controllable risk factor for this deadly disease.

Tobacco use is also related to severe gum disease. Because smoking weakens your body’s ability to fight infection, bacteria build up more easily in your mouth in the form of plaque and tartar. Bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth, resulting in bleeding and sensitivity. This can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss. Those who smoke are two times more likely to develop gum disease than a nonsmoker.

Other dental problems that can be caused by smoking include:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Coated or black hairy tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Dry mouth
  • Slowed healing after tooth extraction or other surgery
  • Lower success rate of cosmetic dental procedures

Watch the video below to see how smoking affected Brett’s smile:

A Note About Electronic Cigarettes

Within the past couple of years, electronic cigarettes have gained popularity, especially as a “safer” alternative to smoking. Since e-cigarettes are relatively new, not much research has yet been published about their long-term health effects. What we do know is that while e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, most contain nicotine, which is known to cause damage to the mouth.

Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, it reduces the amount of blood that can flow to your gums. This means that the gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need, causing gum recession and tooth sensitivity as well as putting you at a higher risk of cavities. The reduced blood flow to the gums caused by nicotine use can also mask the signs of gum disease, making it harder to detect and diagnose. This delays treatment and allows the disease to progress.

Until further research is done, we can’t really know how safe e-cigarettes are. As health care professionals, we advise you to avoid them until their long-term effects are known.

Count Us As A Part Of Your Support System

Our patients are more than just patients–they are friends. We care about your health and well-being and want you to count us as a part of your support system to help you quit smoking. If you aren’t quite ready to quit, continue to see us regularly as recommended so we can help you maintain your oral health as best as possible. Talk to us about quitting today and how we can help you!

Thank you for your friendship and loyalty!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge and surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Diabetes And Your Oral Health

DIABETES IS ONE OF THE MOST prevalent chronic diseases today. In fact, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and millions more living with the condition don’t even know they have it.

You may know that diabetes can result in other health complications such as vision loss, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. But many are surprised to learn of the impact diabetes can have on your mouth.

Diabetes Is Linked To Oral Infection And Disease

Periodontal, or gum, disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes. What’s more, one in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. These statistics can be distressing, but a proper understanding of the association between these two diseases is the first step in preventing complications.

So, first and foremost, why does diabetes affect oral health?

We have billions of bacteria living in our mouths. If that bacteria is allowed to build up, it can lead to gum disease–swollen, bleeding gums as well as bone and tooth loss. Because people with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria, they are more susceptible to gum disease. Poor blood glucose control also increases the likelihood of gum problems.

The relationship between diabetes and gum disease, however, is two-way. Because infected gums are an easy access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Beyond gum disease, there are other oral infections and problems associated with diabetes including thrush, dry mouth, cavities and ulcers.

 

Keep Your Dental Team Involved

Keeping us involved is the most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease and other oral complications linked to diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or if there are changes in your condition, let us know. Keep us informed of your medications and your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Be sure to regularly visit your dentist as well–every six months or more if deemed necessary.

Other things you can do to manage your oral health and diabetes include:

  • Develop good oral hygiene habits
  • Quit smoking
  • Control your blood sugar

Your Health Matters To Us

Every aspect of your health is important to us, not just your the health of your mouth. If you have questions about how your dentist can help you manage your diabetes, contact us. We are your partners in ensuring both your oral and overall health.

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge, North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Brett Monroe used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
 

Don’t Let Gingivitis Keep You From Smiling

YOU’RE SITTING IN THE DENTAL CHAIR, everything going as planned at your checkup, until your dentist tells you that you have gingivitis. If you haven’t heard of gingivitis before you’re probably thinking, “What is gingivitis? Is it serious? Is it treatable?”

We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about gingivitis so you can keep your smile healthy!

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums characterized by gum irritation, redness, swelling and sometimes bleeding. Symptoms of gingivitis are fairly mild and can even be painless. Visiting your dentist regularly is important so gingivitis can be diagnosed, especially if symptoms are not obvious.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal, or gum disease, and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to full-blown gum disease, which can lead to receding and damaged gums as well as bone and tooth loss.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. When plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, bacteria-filled plaque hardens and turns into what is called tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup around the gum line cause gum irritation and inflammation or, in other words, gingivitis.

Other factors may contribute to the development of gingivitis such as hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy), smoking, certain medications or illnesses and genetic predisposition.

Is Gingivitis Reversible?

Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiFVMikAg70

Proper oral hygiene not only prevents gingivitis, but treats it as well. Professional cleanings as recommended by your dentist, daily brushing and flossing, and regular use of an antibacterial mouthwash can keep bacteria found in plaque at bay, effectively preventing and treating gingivitis.

So, yes, gingivitis is reversible! By treating it early and following the instructions of your dental care provider, you can treat gingivitis and smile on!

Keep Your Smile Healthy

A smile shouldn’t only be happy, it should be healthy too! Your oral health is the gateway to your overall health and wellness. So if you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, practice proper oral hygiene care and you’ll have your healthy smile back in no time.

If you have any questions regarding your oral health, call us today or leave us a Facebook message. We’re always glad to address your concerns!

We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge and the surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Maple Valley, Duvall, Preston, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image courtesy of Flickr.