Smoking has long been associated with losing teeth but women who are past the age of menopause tend to experience more tooth loss than men of the same age. A new study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association looked for reasons why this occurs.

Postmenopausal women who have smoked are at higher risk of tooth loss due to periodontal disease than women who have never smoked. Researchers at the University of Buffalo performed the first comprehensive look at smoking histories and tooth loss.”Regardless of having better oral health practices, such as brushing and flossing, and visiting the dentist more frequently, postmenopausal women in general tend to experience more tooth loss than men of the same age,” said Xiaodan Mai, a doctoral student at the University. He continued “We were interested in smoking as a variable that might be important.”

In this study the heavy smokers were nearly twice as likely to report tooth loss from all reasons and six times more likely to report tooth loss from periodontal disease than those women who had never smoked. Tooth loss is associated with poor long term health outcomes including increased risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

While tooth loss due to gum disease increased in smokers, tooth loss due to dental decay did not. This is important because gum disease is a condition that causes inflammation throughout the body and may be related to the development of other diseases.

If you have experienced tooth loss you should know that there are options for replacing missing teeth. Depending upon your overall oral health your dentist may suggest either a dental bridge or dental implants. Dental implants offer several advantages including feeling more like a “real” tooth. Dental implants also help to preserve bone surrounding the missing tooth. Implants can be used to replace just one tooth, several teeth or even to anchor full sets of dentures.

Find out more about your options for replacing missing teeth by contacting Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR today at 547-858-7994.