There have long been connections between smoking and the use of other tobacco products with the progression of gum disease, but now new studies are linking nicotine with cavity development. A study conducted in Sweden looked at two groups of teens: one group never smoked; the other group used tobacco products. The results were clear: The group that used products with nicotine had a higher incidence of cavities. A study conducted in a female correctional institute showed similar results.
When your Charlotte dentist recommends quitting smoking to protect your oral health, it’s clear that there is plenty of scientific evidence to back up the idea.
The Science Behind the Connection Between Nicotine and Cavities
The nicotine found in tobacco—whether from cigarettes or smokeless products—has a significant impact on the formation of the bacteria associated with cavities. Basically, nicotine feeds the bacteria, making it thicker and more active in the mouth—leading to the creation of more cavities.
What Can Be Done About It
The obvious answer is the cessation of all tobacco products. But if you use tobacco products now or have in the past, make sure you visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. Be proactive in knowing that you are more susceptible to cavities because of your habits. Smoking also puts you at a higher risk for gum disease and oral cancer, further emphasizing the importance of regular trips to the dentist.
If you are a smoker and would like help in quitting, the American Lung Association offers a number of tips on how to do so. You can also talk to your dentist in Charlotte, Dr. Harlow, about quitting, and he will be happy to provide you with more information. Protect your overall and oral health by kicking the habit! Call us today to make an appointment.