How does smoking and tobacco use effect gum disease?

Does Diabetes and Smoking Increase Your Risk of Gum Disease?

Dr. Ryan McCall  18 Jan 2018


There are two types of gum disease.   Gingivitis is involves bleeding and inflamation of your gums in response to plaque, or bacteria theat resides in the gums.   The second type is called Periodontitis which involves loss of bone around your teeth.   The teeth slowly lose support and become loose until they are eventually lost and replaced with dentures.

Who is prone to periodontitis?

A cell in your immune system known as neutrophil protects your gums and jaw bone from bacteria.   Studies have shown that neutrophil decreases in people who smoke and or are diabetic.  Smokers and diabetics basically cope differently with plaque on their teeth and gums than others.

This makes it vital to remove the plaque bacteria in these individuals as quickly as possible.  It makes it easier on their immune system, and preserves valuable bone.

How do you know if you have periodontitis?

Often times periodontitis doesn’t hurt so patients are unaware that the bone gradually dissolves.   Often times loss of bone is too late and the teeth have to be removed.   We recommend that any and all smokers and diabetics see a dentist to check the level of bone around their teeth.  If bleeding after flossing or brushing persists more than a few days, and it is painful to chew, then give us a call – we may be able to intercept any disease before it becomes too late.


Is periodontitis treatable?

Periodontitis is easily treated by removing the plaque bacteria around your teeth.  If bone loss is progressive, removing the teeth will stop periodontitis and prevent any future loss of jaw bone.

Who else is susceptible to periodontitis?

Smokers and diabetics are typically the most susceptible to periodontitis, but anyone can get it.  The combination of age, genetics and the amount of bacteria being left behind after tooth brushing all play a role in periodontitis.

If you suffer from gum disease please contact us today

We can help

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