Cigarette Smoking and Root Canal Treatment
According to a report published in the Journal of Dental Research, male smokers are two times more likely to need root canals than nonsmokers. The study began in 1968 and included data from hundreds of men aged eighteen and older. The men were tracked for about 30 years, and every three years, they were checked for dental problems, including cavities, gum disease, tooth mobility, and restorations. The researchers found that after adjusting for variables, smokers were more likely to need root canals than nonsmokers, and the risk increased with the time spent smoking. The risk also decreased once smokers quit. No women were involved in the study, but study authors believed that the results would likely be similar in female smokers.
Smoking has long been linked with lung cancer, oral cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other serious health problems. While this study does not show that smoking causes dental diseases necessitating root canals, it does reveal a link. Smoking and tobacco use has previously been linked to periodontal disease, dry mouth, an increased risk of cavities, and heavier plaque and tartar buildup, as well as reduced immune response and delayed healing. These factors can all play a role in the greater need for root canals. If you currently smoke, quitting is the best way to protect your smile. Until then, you may benefit from more frequent dental checkups and cleanings. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Frame, our root canal dentist.
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