How Does Swimming Affect Teeth?

Park Ridge DentistHAVE YOU EVER NOTICED any extra sensitivity in your teeth after a fun afternoon swimming? You aren’t imagining things, though it usually takes more than just one trip to the local pool before there are any effects. But what does swimming have to do with tooth sensitivity?

The Effects Of Chlorine On Tooth Enamel

When you hear the phrase “swimmer’s calculus,” you might think it’s advanced math for mermaids, but it’s actually the name of what gradually happens to tooth enamel with enough exposure to acidic chlorine ions in pool water. Chlorine in pools is great for keeping them sanitary for the public to swim in, but it also changes the acidity of the water.

Prolonged exposure to the diluted hydrochloric acid in pool water can wear away the tooth enamel of avid swimmers, leading to yellow and brown stains on the teeth and increasing tooth sensitivity. A few visits to the pool over the summer wouldn’t be enough to produce this result, but members of swimming or diving teams, water polo players, and anyone who swims laps multiple times a week to work out, could be susceptible.

A Deeper Dive: Scuba Diving And Teeth

Natural bodies of water won’t give you swimmer’s calculus, but they come with their own dental concerns. If you’ve ever dived into the deep end of a pool, you’ve probably felt the pressure building up in your ears on the way down. The deeper you go, the stronger the pressure becomes, and it can even happen in your teeth.

Tooth squeeze (barodontalgia) is when tiny air bubbles that get trapped in crevices, cracks, and holes in our teeth change size due to pressure, which can be painful and may even cause a tooth to fracture! This is why it’s a good idea to visit the dentist before you begin diving, especially if you’ve had dental work done in the past.

Diving Mouthpieces And TMJ

A lot of divers agree that the “one size fits all” design of the mouthpieces is more like “one size fits none,” but if you want to breathe underwater, you have to grip it between your teeth for the entire dive anyway. This can be pretty hard on your jaws.

Clenching your jaws for extended periods can lead to temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), with symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing. If you dive more than once or twice a year, a good solution might be to get your own custom-fitted mouthpiece.

Let’s Get Those Teeth Ready For The Water!

In addition to these issues, simple tooth injuries are more common around pools than other places. To avoid these kinds of accidents, be careful around those slippery surfaces, don’t come up out of the water too fast at the edge of the pool, and don’t dive in shallow water. If you have any questions about what you can do to protect your teeth at the pool, just give us a call!

We hope that all of our patients are having a wonderful summer!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Practice Updates Regarding Coronavirus

BASED ON RECOMMENDATIONS from the ADA, ISDS and the CDC, we’re temporarily changing the way our practice operates. We recommend that all of our patients check the CDC’s website for information on the coronavirus and what we can do to slow the spread.

Temporary Changes to Our Schedule

Davis & Engert Dentistry is available to answer any of your questions and treat emergency or urgent care patients. Please don’t hesitate to call us! We are following the recommendations by the American Dental Association and Illinois State Dental Society to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by postponing all elective dental treatment. Based on Governor Pritzker ‘s shelter-in-place order, we will be abiding by this plan until April 7, 2020. We hope to resume normal business hours on April 8, 2020, but will be actively monitoring and following all forthcoming guidelines.

OFFICE HOURS (3/17/20 – 4/7/20)

Monday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday: Closed

What is Emergency or Urgent Treatment?

American Dental Associate has provided guidelines to all dental professionals for the types of treatment that can be considered emergency and/or urgent. If you have any needs or questions regarding getting an appointment with us, please call us! (847)698-2161.

If you come in for an emergency visit, we will be taking several additional precautions:

  • Pre-treatment screening questions will be asked prior to scheduling.
  • Pre-treatment screening questions will be asked at the office before your appointment.
  • Your temperature will be taken prior to your appointment.
  • We will provide your a 1% Hydrogen Peroxide rinse before starting any procedure.
A few steps we are proactively taking at Davis & Engert:
  • Increasing efforts and frequency in disinfecting all spaces
  • Increasing the number of hand sanitizer dispensers throughout our building
  • Educating our employees on preventative measures provided by the CDC

We encourage our patients to follow these best practices:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Keep away from others that are sick
  • If you are sick, exhibiting any symptoms of the virus, or know that you have been exposed to the virus, please stay home for 14 days

We Are Strong When We Work Together

Right now, one of the best ways that we, as healthcare professionals, can help to slow the spread of coronavirus is to follow the guidance of these health organizations, and we encourage our patients to do the same. We will be sure to update you about additional changes at our practice.

We love all our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Dental Scaling And Root Planing: The Basics

ROUTINE PROFESSIONAL DENTAL cleanings by your dental hygienist include scaling, or the careful removal of plaque and tartar from around the gumline. Tartar in particular can only be removed at a professional cleaning, as brushing and flossing alone can’t do the trick. However, if you have symptoms of gum disease, your teeth may need an even more advanced cleaning called dental scaling and root planing.

The Effects Of Gum Disease

Healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth, providing a barrier that keeps bacteria away from the roots. When gums become diseased, they begin to pull away from the teeth, forming deeper pockets where bacteria can grow. That’s how plaque and tartar can build up beneath the gumline.

Check out this video for the warning signs of gum disease:

What Is Dental Scaling And Root Planing?

When you brush your teeth, you’re cleaning the visible surfaces. Dental scaling and root planing is a deeper cleaning. Dental scaling gets rid of all plaque and tartar above and below the gumline, and root planing smooths out any uneven areas on the surfaces of tooth roots so that bacteria will have a harder time sticking and gum tissue will be able to heal effectively.

This kind of deep cleaning has been described as the gold standard of treatment for patients with gum disease. To get the gums healthy again, all that gunk needs to be cleaned out, which is what dental scaling and root planing does. While routine scaling helps prevent gum disease, scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for existing gum disease. In cases of severe periodontitis, it may be recommended before gum surgery.

Removing Tartar Is Like Pulling A Splinter

If you’ve ever had a splinter in your finger, you know that getting it out isn’t very comfortable, but as soon as it’s gone, you feel instant relief. Dental scaling and root planing is the same way. It may require multiple appointments and a local anesthetic to eliminate discomfort, but it leaves your teeth and gums feeling wonderful.

Afterward: Taking Care Of Your Gums

Getting your gums healthy again is a process, and the dentist is your best resource. After your periodontal treatment, whether it’s surgical or just scaling and root planing, we’ll want to pay close attention to your gums through regular maintenance visits. Every two to four months, you’ll come in for routine cleanings and examinations where we check the pocket depth of your gums.

Getting Your Healthy Smile Back — And Keeping It!

The best treatment for gum disease is prevention, whether you’ve had it before or not. A good oral hygiene routine is critical, so make sure you’re brushing the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, replacing worn out toothbrushes, and scheduling regular appointments with us. Avoiding smoking will also help you keep your gums healthy.

A healthy life starts with healthy gums and teeth!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Pedro Ribeiro Simões used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

You’ll Be Smiling Again With Dental Implants

Park Ridge DentistTOOTH DECAY, ACCIDENTS, and sports-related injuries are a few of the most common causes of tooth loss, but thanks to modern dentistry, we don’t need to live with a gap in our smiles. Among the most effective ways to fill in the gaps are dental implants.

Implants Versus False Teeth

Dentures (whether partial or full) are a time-honored solution for missing teeth, but they aren’t without their drawbacks. If they aren’t fitted well or properly secured, they may slip and fall out frequently, and they can also lead to soreness in the gums and jaw. Unlike real teeth, dentures don’t stimulate the jawbones, which results in gradual bone loss.

Unlike dentures, implants are surgically placed in the jawbone beneath the gums, the metal posts serving as new roots for replacement teeth that look and act just like natural teeth. Dentures may be cheaper than implants, but that’s the only advantage they offer. Implants prevent bone loss and stay in place while you’re speaking or enjoying your favorite foods, and you can brush them just like your regular teeth!

Types Of Implants

Depending on how healthy the patient’s jawbone is, we may recommend either endosteal or subperiosteal implants. Endosteal implants are ideal for patients with healthy jawbone. These consist of titanium posts placed into the jaw with oral surgery. After a healing period, a crown is placed on top in a second surgery.

Patients with insufficient bone to support endosteal implants may still be eligible for subperiosteal implants, which consist of metal frames placed between the jawbone and gum tissue. Posts are added to this framework and protrude from the gumline so that crowns can be attached to them.

Even if you don’t need implants, you might benefit from artificial crowns:

Should Implants Come Before Or After Braces?

Typically, when a patient needs orthodontic treatment as well as one or more implants, braces come first. This is because an implant won’t move once it’s in the jaw. Sometimes, an implant can be placed before or during orthodontic treatment, and then it might be used as an anchor to help the natural teeth move into their proper place.

Talk To Us About Implants

Over three million people in the U.S. alone have at least one dental implant, so you’ll be in excellent company if you choose this option to complete your smile. If you have a missing tooth and need to fill that gap, give us a call to schedule an appointment! We’ll evaluate the health of your jawbone and see what type of implant will be best for you.

We love our patients’ smiles!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user SupportPDX used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Repeat After Us: Teeth Are Not Tools

Park Ridge DentistOUR TEETH ARE pretty amazing, and there’s a lot they can do. They chew our food, they provide structural support for the lower third of our faces, they help us speak clearly, and they give us our beautiful smiles. However, many people also find other uses for their teeth, which can be very dangerous. Teeth are not tools, and shouldn’t be used in place of them.

Teeth Are Not Bottle-Openers

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, so it might seem like that makes teeth perfect to use when you don’t have a bottle opener handy, right? Wrong. Tooth enamel isn’t just hard, it’s brittle,and it is not designed to win a fight against materials like metal and glass.

Using your teeth as a bottle opener can easily chip, crack, or break them, as well as risking damage to the soft tissues of the lips and gums if you slip. Doing it over and over again can even cause your teeth to shift out of their proper alignment and wear down unevenly. It isn’t worth it.

Teeth Are Not Nutcrackers

Like with trying to open a bottle, trying to crack a hard walnut, pecan, or even pistachio shells and popcorn kernels between your teeth risks chipping or cracking the teeth instead. Teeth that are already weaker due to decay or a filling are at even greater risk of damage.

Teeth Are Not An Extra Hand

When your hands are busy, it can be very convenient to hold a pencil, sewing pins, or maybe a few nails between your teeth. However, making a habit out of doing this can have a number of consequences. If you trip, the items in your mouth could cause a serious injury. If a yawn or hiccup catches you by surprise, you might even end up swallowing or choking on the object. And over time, you can wear down your enamel. Pencils would be better off behind your ear, pins in a cushion, and nails in a utility belt until you’re ready to use them.

Teeth Are Not Scissors (Or Nailclippers)

A particularly common way people use their teeth as tools is to bite through packing tape instead of using scissors, and some people even try to use their teeth to cut through wire. It takes much greater biting pressure to cut through non-food items than it does to chew food, and cutting things requires grinding the teeth together. This wears down the chewing surfaces and risks chipping and fracturing.

A nail-biting habit is particularly bad, both for the teeth and for the nails. The germs from the nails increase the risk of tooth decay, teeth will become worn down more quickly and shift out of alignment, and pieces of fingernail can damage the gum tissue, all while the nails themselves are left ragged and misshapen.

Protect Your Teeth By Using Them Right

Cracked and fractured teeth are the third highest cause of tooth loss. Don’t take risks with your teeth by using them as tools. Save yourself an expensive emergency dental visit; use your teeth only for what they are meant for and continue your daily brushing and flossing routine to keep them healthy.

We love to see our patients’ smiles!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Too Few Or Too Many Adult Teeth?

Park Ridge DentistDEPENDING ON HOW MANY wisdom teeth come in and whether or not they have to be removed, most adults have 28-32 adult teeth. There are a few outliers in either direction, however. Some people have fewer teeth than they should (called hypodontia or congenitally missing teeth), while others have one or more extra (called hyperdontia or supernumerary teeth). How does this happen and what do we do about it?

Congenitally Missing Teeth

Between 2-4 percent of the population has at least one tooth missing from the adult set. The most common teeth affected by this condition are wisdom teeth, lower second premolars, and upper lateral incisors. It’s not really an issue to be missing wisdom teeth, but missing incisors and premolars can cause difficulties with chewing, the surrounding teeth may shift, and the decreased jaw support can lead to additional tooth loss.

The reason for congenitally missing teeth is nearly always genetics,which is why you tend to see it run in families. Sometimes it happens in conjunction with a larger genetic disorder like Down syndrome or ectodermal dysplasia.

Supernumerary Teeth

At the other end of the dental spectrum is hyperdontia, where extra teeth develop in the jaw. It happens more often with adult teeth than baby teeth. We don’t fully understand what causes this condition, but one leading theory is that it could be the result of a tooth bud dividing abnormally, producing two teeth instead of one.

Supernumerary teeth aren’t always shaped like normal teeth. They can also be peg-shaped, have multiple cusps, or simply be a mass of dental tissue. However they develop, they often don’t have room to erupt, so they remain impacted in the gums, causing crowding and alignment problems for the normal teeth.

Treatment For Hypodontia And Hyperdontia

The typical treatment for extra teeth is to extract them if there isn’t room for them, but dealing with a congenitally missing tooth can be more complicated. Depending on the age of the patient and how long the tooth has been missing, different options may be better. The first step is usually orthodontic treatment so that the gap will be wide enough to fit a replacement tooth. These come in a few forms:

  • Removable partial dentures are a simple solution. They can be attached to a retainer or anchored in place by the surrounding teeth.
  • Dental bridges “bridge” the gaps by anchoring to the neighboring teeth, but unlike dentures, they’re cemented in place.
  • The most permanent solution is a dental implant, which functions like a normal tooth. An implant consists of a post fixed in the jaw bone with a crown on top that matches the natural teeth. Implants can also provide support for bridges when multiple teeth are missing.

Let’s Take A Look At Those Teeth

With regular dental appointments, we can catch cases of hypodontia and hyperdontia early on and make a plan for how to address it. Keep up with your daily dental hygiene routine, keep scheduling those regular appointments, and give us a call if you have any questions about these rare conditions!

Keep on smiling!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Héctor Arango used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Plaque, Tartar, And Your Teeth

Park Ridge DentistPLAQUE AND TARTAR are two words that you probably hear a lot when you come in for a dental cleaning. You might already know that they cause tooth decay and gum disease, but do you know what they are? Let’s take a closer look at these two substances that are a constant threat to our oral health.

Stage 1: Plaque

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky, colorless biofilm composed of bacteria, food particles, and saliva. It builds up on and between our teeth and beneath our gums every day. If you’ve ever forgotten to brush in the morning or at night, you’ve probably felt that unpleasant texture with your tongue.

Plaque contains millions of bacteria, and this bacteria digests leftover sugars and starches from the food we eat, then excretes acid onto our teeth. Because plaque is soft, it can be removed with simple brushing and flossing, but we have to be thorough and diligent to get as much of it as possible.

Stage 2: Tartar

The reason it’s so important to scrub away the plaque is that when plaque is allowed to sit on the teeth too long, it becomes tartar. Tartar is a hard, yellow or brown substance that bonds to tooth enamel and can only be removed at a professional cleaning appointment.

How does this transformation happen? When the acid excreted by oral bacteria comes into contact with minerals in our saliva, it causes a chemical reaction that hardens the plaque into tartar. The risk of tartar buildup is higher for people with braces, dry mouth, crowded teeth, or a smoking habit, and it also increases with age.

Keeping Plaque And Tartar Under Control

A rigorous oral hygiene routine, paired with regular professional cleanings, is the best way to control the plaque in your mouth and prevent it from hardening into tartar. Here are some of the things a good routine should include:

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes, making sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth and paying special attention to the gum line.
  • Floss or use a water flosser daily to clean the plaque and food debris left in those hard-to-reach spots between the teeth.
  • Choose an anti-plaque toothpaste.
  • Consider getting an electric toothbrush for more effective plaque removal, and replace your toothbrush (or the head of your electric toothbrush) regularly.
  • Give oral bacteria less fuel by cutting down on sugary foods and drinks.
  • Avoid smoking, which increases plaque and tartar.
  • Schedule dental cleanings once every six months.

Win The Battle For Your Dental Health

It might seem discouraging to think that plaque will creep back up throughout the day even after you brush and floss thoroughly. A better perspective is that it only takes a few minutes each morning and night to win the daily battle against plaque and tartar, and you can improve the odds for your teeth even more with regular dental visits!

Together, we can keep those teeth plaque and tartar free!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user sittered used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Taking Care Of Your Pet’s Teeth

Park Ridge DentistIT’S EASY TO ASSUME that our pets don’t need dental care like we do. After all, wild animals can’t exactly brush their teeth, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. However, it turns out that our pets’ teeth have a very different situation than the teeth of wild animals, and they do need our help to stay healthy.

Animal Teeth In The Wild

There are two main reasons wild animals don’t need dental care. The first is diet. Unlike us and our pets (particularly cats and dogs), wild animals don’t consume a lot of sugar or carbs, which is what feeds the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Wild animals are more likely to wear their teeth down than they are to get cavities.

The second reason wild animals don’t seem to get tooth decay as often is that their teeth essentially outlive them. Their lifespans aren’t long enough for their teeth to rot before they die. If an animal’s teeth do rot, it won’t survive much longer in the wild, because unlike domesticated animals, it doesn’t have a friendly human to feed it after it can no longer eat its usual food.

What Dental Problems Are Pets At Risk For?

Our puppies and kitties might have teeth that look a lot different from ours, but they can get cavities and gum disease just like we can. In fact, a whopping 85 percent of dogs and cats get gum disease by age three.Keep an eye out for symptoms like difficulty chewing, tooth loss, and bad breath, as well as loose teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, and loss of appetite.

In a way, dental problems are even more serious for our pets than they are for us. We can take care of our own teeth, and we can describe what our teeth and gums feel like to our dentists. Our pets can’t do any of that, so when a problem happens, it’s more likely to get worse.

Tips For Pet Dental Care

Don’t wait for your pet to start showing symptoms of dental problems to begin a dental hygiene routine for them. Whether you’re keeping their teeth healthy or helping fight back against existing problems, you’ll be making your furry friend’s life so much better. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Brush their teeth daily.
  • Only use veterinary toothpaste, if any. (Your toothpaste will make them sick.)
  • Give them vet-approved dental treats to help clean their teeth.
  • Get their teeth professionally cleaned! Some vets offer dental services, but if your vet doesn’t, they can probably recommend a veterinary dental specialist in the area.

Do It For Those Happy Doggy And Kitty Smiles!

As a pet owner, there’s nothing better than seeing them happy and full of life, and taking good care of their teeth is a great way to make that happen. If you have any questions about what to do for your pet’s teeth or if you’re having trouble getting them used to a dental hygiene routine, make use of resources like our practice and your veterinarian.

We look forward to seeing you at our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Defeating Bad Breath

Park RIdge DentistWE’VE ALL BEEN THERE BEFORE — sitting in the middle of a job interview or a first date and realizing that our breath is far from minty fresh. Even when everything else is going perfectly, bad breath can be enough to ruin your confidence and turn a good experience sour. Why do we get bad breath, and what can we do to stop it?

Oral Bacteria And The Food We Eat

In order to effectively fight bad breath, it’s important to figure out what’s causing it. The simplest and most common cause is leftover food particles stuck between our teeth after a meal. The bacteria in our mouths break down these particles, and the end result doesn’t smell good. We can combat this with a good daily hygiene routine, including daily flossing, twice-daily brushing, scraping our tongues clean, and chewing sugar-free gum.

Causes Of Chronic Bad Breath

Chronic cases of bad breath (also called halitosis) might not be solved by good oral hygiene practices alone. Halitosis may be caused by:

  • Chronic conditions. Sometimes, bad breath is linked to conditions that you wouldn’t think are connected to oral hygiene, such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and acid reflux.
  • Medications. A common side-effect of medications is dry mouth. Without saliva to wash away food particles and neutralize acid, the mouth is vulnerable to problems like bad breath.
  • Mouth-breathing. Whether it happens by habit or because breathing through the nose is difficult, mouth-breathing tends to dry out the mouth, leading to the same problems as described above.
  • Mouth, nose, and throat infections. Bad breath can be the result of increased mucous when we have a cold or a sinus infection.
  • Pregnancy. Symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea can cause bad breath, because of the extra acid in the mouth. This is also a problem for people struggling with bulimia.
  • Tobacco products. Tobacco in any form leaves smelly chemicals in the mouth and can also dry it out. In addition, it increases the risk of oral cancer and gum disease, which negatively impact breath as well.
  • Tooth decay and gum disease. Poor dental health often goes hand-in-hand with chronic bad breath because cavities and periodontitis are caused by the same bacteria that produces those nasty-smelling chemicals.

Keeping Your Breath Fresh

Even if strict oral hygiene isn’t enough to keep the bad breath completely at bay, it will help to manage it, and treating the underlying cause may be able to eliminate it. If you are a habitual mouth-breather, try breathing through your nose more. Quitting smoking will eliminate a major cause of bad breath. If dry mouth is the problem, chew sugar-free gum and mints to stimulate saliva production, sip water, and use a humidifier to help keep up the moisture.

Your Dentist Can Help

Discovering the underlying cause of bad breath is a crucial step in fighting back, and the dentist is your best ally here. Schedule an appointment so that you can get the answers you need to fight bad breath the best way.

We want all our patients to feel confident about their breath!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The Impact Of Smoking On Oral Health

dentist in park ridge

YOU’RE PROBABLY FAMILIAR with some of the ways smoking impacts our health, particularly lung cancer. However, that’s not where the damage ends. Smoking can harm every part of the body, including our oral health. And the problems don’t end with stained teeth and bad breath.

Gum Disease

Gum disease begins as an inflammation of the gums, which, if left untreated, can lead to serious damage to the gum tissue, tooth loss, and even bone loss in the jaw. It can also give bacteria access to the bloodstream, risking life-threatening infections. Smoking doubles the risk of developing gum disease by introducing hundreds of toxins into the mouth, and it also makes gum disease harder to treat.

Smoker’s Keratosis

One particularly strange effect smoking can have on oral health is that it can produce white patches on the roof of the mouth. These are stomatitis nicotina, or smoker’s keratosis. The condition is not well understood, but the white patches could be the result of inflammation of the mucous glands in the mouth. It usually isn’t painful, but it can be pre-cancerous.

Oral Cancer

Four out of every five people diagnosed with oral cancer smoke or chew tobacco. Oral cancer is cancer that affects any of the tissues in the mouth and throat. Early symptoms include unusual white patches, persistent sores or pain, difficulty chewing or swallowing, swelling, numbness, and the sensation of having something lodged in the throat. The dentist is the first line of defense against oral cancer, as many of these symptoms can be caught early during a regular dental exam.

Secondhand Smoke

Even people who don’t smoke can still be negatively affected by secondhand smoke. Studies suggest a link between cavities (in both baby teeth and adult teeth) and regular exposure to secondhand smoke. The dangers of secondhand smoke are particularly serious for infants and young children. They include asthma attacks, infections, and even SIDS.

It’s Never Too Late To Quit

Luckily, smoking is a very preventable cause of all these different dental problems. All we have to do is quit smoking or never pick up the habit in the first place. Even those with a long history of smoking can significantly improve their chances of avoiding health complications by quitting, so don’t think there’s nothing you can gain from it!


We’re Waiting To Help You!

There are many resources available for smokers who need help quitting. Some of the best ones are supportive friends, family, and counselors. You can also find a lot of great information on the CDC’s website. We, as your dental health specialists, care deeply about your overall health. If you are a smoker, be sure to schedule regular dental exams, sometimes more than two a year, so that your mouth can stay healthy!

We can’t wait to see you!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.