Dalton general dentistTobacco use stains your teeth. It worsens your breath. It causes oral cancer and lung cancer. It impacts your health and life in so many negative ways – and now, there’s one more to add to the list. We already knew that smoking was associated with a number of oral health concerns, but now we have a better idea why that might be.

A new study from the New York University Langone Medical Center used genetic tests to explore the impact of smoking on oral microbiota (the community of microorganisms within the mouth). They investigated mouthwash samples from adults in a large study on cancer risk funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. Out of the 1,204 individuals, those who were currently smokers showed far lower levels of helpful bacteria, and higher levels of harmful bacteria. Specifically, 10% more species of Streptococcus, which is a known cause of tooth decay. So no matter how well you brush and floss, smoking is putting you at risk – and the effects of the changed bacteria can take as long as ten years to wear off.

This is bad news for many reasons, and just one more reason to give up tobacco for good. Help motivate your quitting efforts by reading on, and find resources below to help you take the first step.

 Why Smoking/Tobacco Use Impacts Your Oral Health

  • Compromised healing, which can lead to long recovery periods after periodontal disease or oral surgery
  • Stained teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Increased plaque and tartar buildup
  • Jaw bone loss
  • Heightened risk of gum disease
  • Higher risk of oral cancer

 Trying to Quit Smoking? Here’s Where to Start

Whether you’ve tried to quit in the past or this is your first time, there are so many resources available to help. Start by finding free quitting advice and coaching online, and let us know if you’re interested in a prescription nicotine replacement that will help you begin the process. If you have the will to quit, you can make it – and there are so many people who can help you along the way.

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