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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cigarette Smoking: Save the Gum from Harm

Cigarette smoking is widely known bad habit. It is unhealthy and harmful by causing different serious diseases and illnesses of the body, even affecting those who are nonsmokers. But, smoking is not just one of the major causes of respiratory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc. This also affects the gum and the oral health of a person. Smoking is also known to reduce the overall health level of a person and not known to many, that the effects actually start from the mouth where a smoker puffs his every cigarette butt.

Danger Of Smoking

Gum disease or also known as periodontal disease is a kind of infection that begins with dental plaque which  contains harmful microorganisms and bacteria in the mouth. The plaque is being accumulated in between the teeth and gums. When this is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, this becomes a tartar. This bacteria-containing plaque and tartar is responsible for the inflammation and infection of the gingival margin. And this becomes gingivitis, the first step of gum disease. When this becomes worse, the little spaces which are called as periodontal pockets begin to develop between the teeth and gums. These little spaces are not visible to the eye and appears when the infection has reached and destroyed the alveolar bone, the bone that holds the teeth in place. When this bone deteriorates, periodontitis takes place, the second stage of gum disease.

Treating gingivitis might be easier than periodontitis given that when the alveolar bone is destroyed, it becomes difficult for the treatment to regenerate. The treatments would usually keep the bone to its level. When no treatment will take place, the teeth would eventually start moving and soon enough would fall out. This is due to the fact that there is less bone holding them. When more gum diseases are detected earlier, the more options are there for the treatment.

Smoking may not directly initiate gum diseases. But when there is a prior infection, either tartar or dental plaque things may get worse than it seems. On the other hand, smoking can actually make gingivitis or periodontitis become worse. And this is made possible with these two different mechanisms:
  • Smoking is responsible for reducing saliva production in the mouth and this condition is known as xerostomia.
  • Smoking greatly affects the immune system by reducing the effectiveness of fighting different infections which are caused by gingivitis or periodontitis.
Saliva is responsible in establishing a natural, but not complete cleansing of the dental plaque. This contains antibodies that fight the bacteria in the mouth which causes gum diseases. When there is a decrease in the production of saliva in the mouth, this would to the greater accumulation of plaque, harmful bacteria, and tartar in the mouth. And in lieu with this, smoking is the culprit in decreasing the effectiveness of the body's immune system because smokers tend to have a compressed blood vessels. As a result of this, the amount of blood flow is reduced, leading to having less oxygen, white blood cells, and nutrients that reach the gums in order to fight infections and to keep the mouth in its healthy condition.


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