Threats to Dental Health 101

As hard as this may be to believe, your overall health — and your lifestyle habits — can have an impact on your dental health. Case in point: recent research has suggested a possible association between obesity and periodontal (gum) disease.8

And did you know that smoking tobacco products can make gum disease get worse faster? Studies have shown that smokers were three to six times more likely to suffer from advanced gum disease than nonsmokers. In addition, current or former heavy smokers were five times more likely to have severe bone loss than nonsmokers.6

Not only does smoking potentially increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, it can make treatment much more difficult. Further, the treatment may be less likely to succeed. That's because smoking hinders healing in your mouth.

Sometimes things we think look “cool” can also be a health hazard, like oral piercings. Oral infections are common, but they can also contribute to cracked or chipped teeth. Oral piercings can also lead to gum recession, which can cause teeth to come loose and fallout.

It may seem obvious but sugar is a major threat to dental health. Sugar, from the foods we eat, causes plaque to develop on our teeth. The plaque is then combined with carbohydrates and causes acid buildup. Then the acid breaks down the tooth enamel, which can cause cavities to form. Without treatment, cavities can penetrate deep into the tooth and cause pain or, in severe cases, tooth loss.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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