Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco are known to be harmful to your overall health, contributing to heart and lung disease. It is also a well-known fact that tobacco use increases your risk of developing oral cancer. Cancers of the tongue, lips, and throat are a disturbing reality for millions of tobacco users each year.

However, many patients may be unaware of the other common effects of tobacco use on their oral health. Dental problems such as stained enamel, bad breath, tarter (or calculus) buildup, and discoloration of the tongue can be seen in the vast majority of tobacco users.

Even more disturbing, the habit can cause varying degrees of gum disease, a condition that requires the expertise of a periodontist. As a specialist in the health of the gums and bone that support your teeth, your periodontist can identify and treat your gum disease in order to restore your oral health.

By contributing to tarter buildup and bone loss, tobacco use can lead to infections of the gums and deep pockets between the teeth and gums. At this stage, normal brushing and flossing are virtually ineffective means of caring for your teeth and gums. In fact, the chemical additives in tobacco can make the gum tissue so tough and fibrous that normal gum disease symptoms such as bleeding or tenderness are often absent. If the condition is not addressed by a professional periodontist, the disease can progress to an unmanageable degree.

Tooth loss is another potential complication that must be considered by tobacco users. As the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, extensive bone loss occurs. This condition often progresses with little or no pain, making it difficult to diagnose with the help of an experienced professional. Unfortunately, as the teeth lose the necessary support, they can become loose and the prognosis for saving teeth in this condition is poor. With proper periodontal treatment, lifestyle changes, and careful oral hygiene, you can increase your odds of protecting your teeth, gums, and overall health.

If you are interested in an oral health evaluation, contact the Glenview IL office of Dr. Dorothy Anasinski at 847-685-6686 to schedule your appointment.