Improving Your Dental Care

Why Does Smoking Make Your Gums Look Bad?

If you are or were a smoker at some point in time, you might not be satisfied with the way that your smile looks, even if your teeth are white. Gum issues are fairly common for smokers and former smokers, but why do they happen? Here's what you should know about the condition of your gums and how to get the issue taken care of.


One of the biggest problems that smoking causes for the gums is inflammation. Most people who smoke develop chronic inflammation in their gums or even full-fledged gum disease. Inflammation can make your gums appear red, puffy, or swollen and can induce bleeding, too. While some of these symptoms typically improve when people give up smoking, not all of them go away.

Tissue Damage

One of the reasons why the appearance of your gums may not dramatically improve even after giving up smoking is the chronic inflammation caused by smoking. Chronic inflammation can cause permanent tissue damage in the gums. This can give your gums the appearance of having shriveled up and become shorter.

This is a problem for a few reasons. From a cosmetic standpoint, shortened or receded gums can make your teeth look bigger, which can throw off the balance of your smile. The condition can also leave you with visible gaps between your gums and your teeth, otherwise known as gum pockets.

From a health point of view, things are also bad for your gums and teeth. Shortened gums can expose parts of the tooth that aren't protected by enamel, making you more vulnerable to issues like cavities. 

How To Fix It

Since so many people have these problems, dentists have discovered ways to solve them. Your solution will come from a cosmetic dentist.

The goal of a cosmetic dentist is to extend the length of your gums enough to protect your teeth and to restore your former appearance. This can be accomplished with gum grafts. Gum grafts take a piece of tissue from elsewhere in your mouth, like the roof, and attach them to the edge of your gums. The two pieces of tissue will gradually fuse together and become seamless, restoring your appearance and providing your teeth with proper protection again.

Damaged gums from smoking can leave you feeling self-conscious about your appearance and can put your teeth at risk. You owe it to yourself to get help for this condition. Talk to a dentist about gum restoration.

To learn more, contact a resource like Carolina Forest Family Dentistry.