Cancer, respiratory problems, a dulled sense of smell, premature skin wrinkles — these are just a few of the problems commonly associated with smoking. But did you know that cigarettes can also have a dramatic impact on your oral health? We’re not just talking about bad breath here. If you have been struggling to kick the habit, the following information about how smoking can increase your risk of needing a root canal in Leesburg might be the extra dose of motivation you need to say goodbye to cigarettes forever.
Smoking and Oral Infection
A 28-year study, which kept track of the oral health of over 800 men, found that smokers and former smokers required nearly twice as many root canal treatments as those who never smoked. Although the study did not include women, the researchers believe that they would have found similar results among female smokers and non-smokers. What is the reason behind the correlation between smoking and root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment becomes necessary when harmful bacteria infiltrate a tooth’s pulp. This can happen due to untreated decay or dental trauma. Smoking diminishes the body’s ability to fight off the bacteria that causes decay in the first place. It can also decrease blood oxygen levels, worsen dry mouth, cause gum disease, and contribute to bone loss — all of which affect your body’s ability to protect your teeth and the pulp inside of them.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that all individuals who smoke should assume that they will need root canal treatment. A variety of other factors come into play, such as how much a person smokes, their genetics, and their oral hygiene habits.
Protect Your Smile
The best way to avoid smoking-related root canal treatment is, of course, to avoid smoking altogether. If you are already a smoker, the sooner you quit, the more you can reduce your risk of needing a root canal. Your general physician may be able to give you the guidance you need to quit the habit once and for all.
If you already quit smoking, or if you have never touched a cigarette, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are free of oral health risks. Anyone, even if they have excellent daily habits, may find themselves in need of a root canal. Therefore, if you ever have a throbbing toothache or experience extreme sensitivity in one of your teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. A root canal can relieve your pain, save your tooth from an extraction, and get you back on the road to sound oral health. Plus, the treatment process isn’t half as scary as most people imagine.
Do you want to reduce your risk of needing root canal treatment? Quitting smoking, along with good oral hygiene and regular preventive dental visits, could save your smile!
About the Author
Dr. David Groy is an accomplished, experienced dentist in Leesburg. He is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and a member of other prestigious organizations. He offers preventive care, root canal treatment, and many other services. If you would like to learn how he can help you achieve a healthy smile, contact our team today at 703-777-5600.