Everyone knows that smoking can have dire effects on your heart and lungs, but did you know your teeth could be at risk as well? According to one study, men who smoke or used to smoke are much more likely to need dental surgery than men who have never smoked. What sort of effect could cigarettes be having on your teeth? Learn why this habit might ultimately lead to a root canal in Astoria.
Why is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?
Usually, root canals are needed when there’s an infection in the tooth’s pulp. If bacteria on the teeth aren’t removed through daily brushing and other good oral hygiene habits, over time they can penetrate the enamel and cause cavities. Left untreated, the bacteria will eventually reach the pulp. This can result in a lot of pain, and if too much damage is done, the tooth will need to be extracted.
To give the patient the best chance of preserving their tooth, a dentist in Astoria can use root canal therapy to remove the pulp and stop the infection from spreading. Afterwards, you’ll likely need a crown or other form of restoration to strengthen and protect the remaining tooth structure.
How Can Smoking Increase the Risk of Needing a Root Canal?
Smoking disrupts the body’s blood flow and is associated with depressed oxygen levels, making it generally more difficult to fight infections. As such, using cigarettes could leave the entire mouth vulnerable to issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. The more likely these problems are to occur, the more likely it is you’ll need root canal therapy in the future.
If I’m a Smoker, How Can I Protect My Teeth?
The risk of oral infection increases the longer you use cigarettes. However, the opposite is also true; you’re less likely to need a root canal the longer you haven’t smoked. Obviously, the best solution is to quit smoking altogether; start researching smoking cessation programs and medications that can help you transition into a healthier lifestyle.
Of course, the risk of tooth decay and gum disease will never fully go away. Here are a few more tips for protecting your smile:
- See the dentist at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings. Smokers might need more frequent appointments.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks that can further harm the enamel, such as soda and citrus fruits.
- In addition to brushing, flossing and the use of mouthwash, don’t forget to clean your tongue; while’s it’s often neglected during cleaning, it’s also a prime spot for oral bacteria to gather.
Ask your dentist for more oral care tips. Remember that while root canal therapy can be an effective (and often misunderstood) solution for a decayed tooth, you’re better off taking care of your smile so you don’t need the treatment in the first place!
About the Author
Dr. Eduart Shkurti wants his practice, ED Family Dental, to be a welcoming and comfortable environment for patients; he makes a point of establishing trusting relationships while providing maximally effective care. In a worst case scenario, he can use root canal therapy to save a damaged tooth. If you believe you’re suffering from an infected tooth or are concerned how smoking has affected your oral health, contact his practice through his website or call (718) 806-1662.