The harmful effects of smoking on gums and dental implants

calendario 24-Feb-2017
Dra. Libertad Caro
Specialist in Periodontology and Dental Implantology

Smoking is one of the main enemies of oral health. The effects of smoking on teeth and the rest of the mouth go beyond mere stains or halitosis. When talking about the mouths and teeth of smokers, we’re not only referring to removing stains from their teeth, but mostly to the effects it can have on their gums, teeth and implants.

Gums and tobacco

Tobacco use is closely related to gum diseases, such as periodontitis. Smokers present higher levels of pathogenic bacteria on their gums and, at the same time, lower defenses with which to combat the bacterial attack, whereby smokers have more chances of suffering from periodontitis, which causes bone loss around the teeth and, in consequence, mobility and dental loss.

And it’s not only the risk of suffering periodontitis that increases; smoking also contributes to a quicker spread of the disease. This is due to the fact that the main symptoms of periodontitis, gum swelling and bleeding, tend to remain hidden in smokers, thus delaying the diagnosis and treatment.

On the other hand, tobacco also worsens the patient’s response to dental treatment. An estimated 80% of patients that don’t respond to periodontal treatments are smokers.

Dental implants and smoking

But smoking can also cause the loss of dental pieces and/or the failure of dental implants. In fact, for smokers, the harmful substances of tobacco can cause peri-implant diseases and generate bone loss around the implants attached to the bone.

In general, the failure rate of implants in smoking patients is between 4 or 5 times higher than average. This is due to the irritant and anti-healing agents of the smoke, which hinder the correct union of the implant with the bone.

Due to the negative effects of tobacco on the correct assimilation of dental implants, at our dental clinic in Palma de Mallorca we recommend all our patients stop smoking during the process of dental implant integration, as well as during other remedies involving dental prosthesis, to be able to guarantee the results. The best thing is that many of them end up giving up this bad habit for good.