Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Smoke, and YOU WILL Lose Your Teeth

We all know that smoking is bad for us. Most of us are not aware of what happens in the mouth. The goal of this week's blog is to shed some light on the subject.

There are many reasons why people lose their teeth. Obvious reasons include poor hygiene, poor nutrition, bad habits and trauma. SMOKING is one major reason why people lose teeth.

Odds are that if you smoke, you will lose your teeth at an early age. Now, this can be the result of an oral cancer or from bone loss (periodontitis).

Oral cancers tend to be quite aggressive. The five year survival rate of someone that is diagnosed with an oral cancer is approximately 50%. In other words, 50% of people diagnosed with an oral cancer will be dead in five years. So, if you are fortunate enough to survive, you may have part of the affected jaw resected (surgically removed). Obviously, if you lose part of your jaw, you will also lose some of your teeth.

Smokers tend to have a significantly higher incidence of advanced periodontitis. Smokers lose their teeth when they have advanced stages of periodontitis. This is a condition where the jaw bone and gums are chronically infected. The net result is the loss of the gums and bone. Even if the teeth are in good shape, if there is inadequate bone and gums to hold the teeth in place, the teeth will inevitably be lost.

If you smoke and want to keep your teeth, you need to ask yourself what you value more. Do you value the pleasure you get from smoking more? Do you value the pleasure of having your teeth for cosmetics and function (the ability to chew and eat) more?

I know it isn't easy, but if you value cosmetics and function, YOU MUST find a way to quit smoking.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

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