Smoking and Dental Health – What You Need to Know

Smoking is one of the more dangerous things you can do to your teeth and gums. Not only does smoking discolor the teeth, but it can also lead to serious oral problems. Here’s what you need to know about smoking and the way it affects your dental health.

Smoking Causes Serious Problems with Teeth and Gums

When you choose to smoke, it can lead to many problems in your mouth. First, it will discolor the teeth. Smokers often have dark, yellow and unsightly teeth. Nicotine stains are difficult to remove from the teeth. In addition, smoking can cause chronic problems with bad breath.

Yet these are primarily cosmetic issues. Smoking is also a health risk. Smoking and use of other tobacco products can lead to problems with gum and tooth health, destroying the attachment of bone to the soft tissues in your teeth. Research has also shown that smoking can cause gum tissue cells to stop functioning properly. This can impair blood flow to the gums and make the gums more susceptible to a wide range of infections. Mouth sores, gum disease and even tooth loss can occur as a result.

Smoking is also a cancer risk, and oral cancer risk increases with nicotine use. The constant exposure to a carcinogen in the mouth increases the risk significantly. While lung cancer is still a higher risk, oral cancer can be fatal as well, making it a risk that needs to be considered.

What Type of Smoking Is the Most Dangerous?

All types of smoking lead to oral health problem. The Journal of the American Dental Association performed a study over 23 years that found that cigar smokers had a high incidence of jaw bone loss and tooth loss. This risk seems to extend to pipe smokers as well. All types of smoking can lead to an increased risk of oral cancers.

So what’s the bottom line? Smoking is bad for your health, including your dental health. If you are a smoker, consider giving up the habit, and make good oral hygiene and regular dental visits a priority to reduce the effects of your habit on your mouth, gums and teeth. If you are concerned about the affects of your smoking habit on your oral health, contact Dr. James J. McCall at (904) 620-9225 today to schedule an appointment and consultation, or visit

Early Detection of Oral Cancer with VELscope

Oral cancer is a disease many people are not aware of, until it strikes close to home. This cancer is not noticeable in early stages because it causes no pain or other noticeable symptoms early on. By the time it has been detected and diagnosed, it is almost always in a more advanced stage or has spread to other parts of the body. In this recent video, Kelsey Roberts, dental assistant for Dr. James J. McCall, discusses the realities and screening options for oral cancer.

Oral Cancer is Wide-Spread

Oral cancer affects approximately 40,000 Americans every year. Every hour, one person dies due to oral cancer and its complications, for a total of over 8,000 deaths a year. For those who are newly diagnosed with oral cancer, only about half will still be alive in five years. Those who do are 20 times more likely than others to develop secondary cancer. These are staggering statistics.

Early Detection is the Key

The reason that oral cancer is so devastating is the fact that most oral cancers are not spotted until they have progressed to a stage that is difficult to treat. For that reason, the cancer cannot be treated, and it tends to be fatal. Unfortunately, these numbers have not improved in recent years, in spite of advancements in medical field.

The VELscope is a simple device that is highly effective at detecting developing oral cancer. Using a blue spectral light, which causes the tissues of the mouth to fluoresce, the VELscope allows the dental team to pinpoint patterns in the oral tissue that indicates disease or other abnormalities are developing. This allows treatment to occur before these develop into late stage oral cancer. The device is safe to use, requires no unpleasant rinses or uncomfortable treatments and takes less than two minutes to scan the mouth, making it the ideal choice for protecting your oral health.