If you’re a smoker, you may be at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. Smoking has been shown to cause defects in neutrophil function, impair inflammatory and attachment loss, and pocket formation. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how smoking increases your risk for periodontal disease and what one can do to protect themselves.
Smoking Causes Defects in Neutrophil Function
The neutrophil is the abundant type of white blood cell in the human body and plays a vital role in fighting infection. Smoking cigarettes causes defects in neutrophil function, which impairs the body’s ability to fight infection. It will cause an increased risk of developing periodontal disease.
Smoking Decreases Saliva Production
The primary role of saliva is to keep the mouth moist, which aids in comfortable chewing and swallowing. It contains enzymes that break down food, minerals that remineralize teeth, and antibodies that can fight infection. A decrease in saliva flow due to smoking allows harmful bacteria to grow unchecked and increases the risk of developing dental caries (cavities).
Smoking Increases Your Risk of Developing Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is caused by tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and spitting tobacco. Smoking increases the risk of developing oral cancer by damaging the DNA in your mouth’s cells. This damage will lead to the development of cancerous cells. Periodontitis, or inflammation of the gums, is another serious condition caused by smoking. Smoking irritates the gums and makes them more susceptible to infection.
Smoking Increases Plaque
Smoking also increases the amount of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky part of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. When you smoke, the plaque becomes harder to remove and more likely to cause gum disease.
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