Survey Finds Smokers Have More Dental Problems but See Dentists Less

People who smoke in the United States are twice as likely to have dental complications as those who don’t, according to a recent study. Los Angeles periodontist Dr. Alex Farnoosh points out why it’s important for smokers to have regular checkups.

Beverly Hills, California (May 2012) – Though the dangers of smoking are widely known, many people who smoke may not be aware of the more common oral health issues that arise, says Dr. Alex Farnoosh, a Los Angeles periodontist.

These problems run the spectrum of severity from unsightly, stained teeth to dangerous mouth cancers. A study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), found that smokers in the United States are twice as likely to suffer from dental problems as those who do not smoke and are much less likely to visit the dentist.

Smokers may try to avoid oral health problems by brushing and flossing, but more severe issues can develop, making them harder to treat in the future.

Dr. Farnoosh, a periodontist in Beverly Hills, says, “I am in the middle of a population that makes it their goal to look their best. I remind my patients that the key to keeping their smiles bright is seeing me regularly. Especially for those who smoke, it is important to see me often to keep an eye on problems that smoking can cause so that I can best prevent more complicated issues.”

The CDC conducted a survey in 2008 that looked at the responses of 16,000 adults ages 18 to 64. The most telling finding was that 35 percent of those who smoked reported having three or more oral health problems. Of that population, 20 percent responded that they had not seen a dentist for five years or more. Some of the problems reported included toothaches, infected gums, stained teeth and jaw pain. While these issues may seem relatively mild, if further ignored, they can turn into more complicated problems such as tooth decay, tooth loss, periodontal disease or even mouth cancer.

When asked about the reasons they had not visited a dentist, respondents cited cost as the main deterrent to seeing a professional regularly. Of the 16,000 surveyed, 35 percent of those who never smoked, 36 percent of former smokers and 56 percent of current smokers stated that they did not have insurance or could not afford the cost of regular maintenance.

Dr. Farnoosh says those who smoke should be concerned about the future of their oral health, given that smokers are four times more likely than those who do not smoke to develop cavities, gum disease and various oral cancers. He advocates that patients stop smoking, not just for the sake of their oral health but also for their overall health.

“Though people who smoke may see regular visits as costly, the cost of treating more advanced problems that can develop from avoiding checkups is many times higher,” Dr. Farnoosh says. “If a patient chooses to smoke, her or she is many times more likely to suffer from problems and should make it a priority to quit and be concerned about dental issues. The survey is quite revealing and only reinforces the importance of regular dental visits.”

During the past few years, other studies have suggested that oral health is indicative of overall health and well-being.

Dr. Farnoosh is sought after for his expertise in advanced cosmetic procedures. He has developed advanced methods to fix a gummy smile and a one-of-a-kind, same-day gum bleaching method. In addition to his expertise in this field, he is a top choice for the care and treatment of mild to severe periodontal issues.

As research progresses, surveys like this can be a powerful ally for dental professionals to better manage their patients’ care,” he says.

A gum specialist, Dr. Farnoosh can help you see what it’s like to smile with total confidence. Request an appointment or call (310) 657-0503 to set up a consultation.