Smoking increases risks of several systemic health problems, including heart disease and lung cancer. However, researchers recently also discovered that this habit boosts the likelihood of needing root canal treatment. Published in the 2006 in the Journal of Dental Research, this study found that men who smoked needed root canals twice as often as men who did not smoke.
Data analyzed for the present study has been collected since 1968, when researchers started looking at men in Veterans Affairs. For the next 30 years, researchers regularly examined the participants for signs of oral health problems, such as tooth decay, plaque, gum disease and tooth loss. At the same time, researchers noted other known risk factors for needing a root canal. These risk factors include age, oral infections, bone loss and having dental crowns.
Smoking was found to be a major risk factor for root canal treatment, but the amount of time for which they smoked was also important. Conversely, the time since which former smokers had quit gradually reduced their chances of needing root canal treatment. Although this study only examined male smokers, these findings are likely to apply to women or anyone who smoke.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things patients can do to improve their oral health and lower their risks of suffering from heart disease, lung cancer, oral cancer and gum disease. To learn more about how smoking damages dental health, patients can schedule a consultation with our expert in root canal in Houston.
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