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How Smoking Can Lead to Periodontal Disease

Smoking causes several diseases and damages nearly every organ in your body, including your mouth. One of the many ways smoking degrades your oral health is by increasing your chances of getting periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. But what does that mean for your smile?

If you’re a smoker, here’s how smoking and periodontal disease can ruin your mouth:

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection that causes inflammation of the gums and bone that support your teeth. Your gums get red, swollen, and bleed. When periodontal disease goes untreated, the bone supporting the teeth deteriorates, causing them to loosen and fall out.

What are the odds?

If you smoke, your odds of periodontal disease go up. Way up.

The more you smoke, and the longer you smoke, the higher your chance of getting periodontal disease.

What's the link?

Smoking weakens your body’s ability to fight infection. Tobacco users have been found to have more plaque and calculus buildup on their teeth – which leads to infection in the gums. If you smoke, your body can’t defend itself from gum disease, and will take longer to heal.

That same damage happens inside the tooth, too. One recent research report put it this way: smoking “weakens the ability for the dental pulp in teeth to fight illness and disease,” which is why smokers are twice as likely to need a root canal.

It's time to quit.

Vaping, e-cigarettes, cigars, or chewing aren’t safe alternatives. Save your smile by quitting tobacco. When you’re ready, the SD QuitLine can help with free resources – from coaching to nicotine gum – to help you quit for good.