If you smoke or chew tobacco, you likely know the common risks associated with the habit: lung cancer, heart disease and diabetic smokingcomplications. Your dental health is no exception; it can be greatly impacted by the chemicals contained in tobacco products. At Smart Family Dental Care in Norcross, GA, Dr. Orson Baek wants his patients to understand the implications that smoking has on your smile and your overall health.

Teeth problems

Regardless if you smoke or not, it's probably no surprise that a longtime smoker's teeth become discolored due to the yellow-tinged tobacco. Chronic bad breath, called halitosis, often affects smokers as well. The combination of these things make your smoking habit hard to hide. Even regular cleanings with your Norcross dentist may not be able to erase these signs.

Gum disease

Smoking attacks the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease as those who do not smoke. This can lead to recession of the gums and infections that may not respond as well to treatment due to reduced oxygen in the blood, which is necessary for healing. Due to the the constant exposure to bacteria, untreated gum disease can also become systemic, which experts believe can contribute to heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

Oral cancer

Like other cancers in the body, the risk of oral cancer increases with tobacco usage. For current and former smokers, oral cancer screenings from your Norcross dentist can be life-saving evaluations. Pre-cancerous lesions called leukoplakia can appear on the tongue or inside of the cheeks and may alert your dentist to the possibility of oral cancer developing; these chalky-white patches are usually painless but may feel rough or firmer than the tissue that surrounds them. Oral cancer symptoms often mimic that of a cold or toothache, which is why screenings are extremely important for early detection.

If you would like more information on smoking-related issues, please contact Smart Family Dental Care in Norcross, GA. Give us a call today to set up an appointment!