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Smok­ing and pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease - what's the con­nec­tion? Sur­pris­ing as it may sound, many smok­ers need to be made more aware of the dan­gers of to­bacco use. In fact, just 29 per­cent of smok­ers say they be­lieve them­selves to be at an above-av­er­age risk for heart at­tack com­pared with their non­smok­ing peers, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished by the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion in March of 1999. Ob­vi­ously, while in­for­ma­tion about the med­i­cal prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with smok­ing - such as lung dis­ease, can­cer, heart dis­ease and low-birth-weight in­fants - is widely avail­able, many smok­ers do not know of the harm­ful ef­fects of smok­ing on teeth and gums. If you are a smoker who is con­cerned about the ef­fects smok­ing can have on your den­tal health, here is the in­for­ma­tion. Pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease OR gum dis­ease is a very com­mon prob­lem, which most peo­ple will suf­fer from at some point in their lives. Although den­tal hy­giene is a must in or­der to avoid pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease, there are some fac­tors that in­crease the risk. Among these is smok­ing. Some stud­ies sug­gest that the risk of de­vel­op­ing pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease is up to 11 times higher for smok­ers than for non-smok­ers. But why is it so? Smok­ing and your gums: One rea­son that smok­ing is a risk fac­tor for de­vel­op­ing pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease is that nico­tine makes the blood ves­sels in the gum tis­sue con­strict, which re­duces the amount of oxy­gen in the area. With­out oxy­gen for the cells, the body's abil­ity to de­fend it­self against bac­te­rial in­fec­tion is re­duced. Makes pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease ' in­vis­i­ble' An­other tricky thing about smok­ing a n d pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease is that the ef­fect of nico­tine can make the gum dis­ease 'in­vis­i­ble'. T h e con­stric­tion of the blood ves­sels re­sults in less bleed­ing from the gums. Since bleed­ing gums are nor­mally an in­di­ca­tor for pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease, the dis­ease might not be dis­cov­ered as eas­ily. It is there­fore vi­tal that your den­tist makes a thor­ough ex­am­i­na­tion of your gums and mea­sures your gin­gi­val pock­ets reg­u­larly in or­der to get an ex­act idea of your pe­ri­odon­tal sta­tus. Other kinds of smok­ing: The im­pact of cigar, pipe and wa­ter­pipe smok­ing is largely the same as that of cig­a­rette smok­ing. Pas­sive smok­ing is also thought to in­crease the risk of pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease, although not by as much as 'ac­tive' smok­ing. Ef­fect on treat­ment prog­no­sis. Apart from be­ing a risk fac­tor for de­vel­op­ing pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease, smok­ing also neg­a­tively af­fects the prog­no­sis of treat­ing pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease. Be­cause of the ef­fect of the nico­tine, the gum tis­sues do not heal as well for smoker as for non-smok­ers. Many den­tists and den­tal hy­gien­ists will there­fore of­fer ad­vice on how to quit smok­ing as part of their treat­ment plan for pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease. Other Oral Prob­lems: Re­searches also have found that the fol­low­ing prob­lems oc­cur more of­ten in peo­ple who use to­bacco prod­ucts: Oral cance,Bad breath, Stained teeth, Tooth loss,Bone loss,Loss of taste,Less suc­cess with pe­ri­odon­tal treat­ment,Less suc­cess with den­tal im­plants,Gum re­ces­sion,Mouth sores,Fa­cial wrin­kling, stain­ing and dis­coloura­tion of teeth, black gums Dr An­shu Gupta ( MDS PGI) at 98551-23234 OR con­tact at # 20 ( F/F), Sec. 18 A, opp 18 D Mar­ket, Chd.

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