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Dental and Oral Health Center

Smoking and Your Teeth

04/15/2008

Question:

My husband has just quit smoking using a nicotine transdermal system. He has not smoked in four weeks, and now that he is breating better and able to be more active, his gums are very red and are bleeding immensely. Can you explain why? Is this simply his gums trying to heal themselves after twenty-some odd years of being numbed by smoke? He does brush and rinse.

Answer:

Bleeding is often "masked" by some of the components of cigarettes. THis masking is also responsible for greater difficulty in diagnosis of periodontal diseases. Once smoking ceases, this masking effect disappears and bleeding looks worse than ever. That doesn't necessarily mean his periodontal condition just got worse, but rather that is a truer representation of disease status.

This answer was contributed by Leena Palomo DDS, MSD, Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontology, Case School of Dental Medicine

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Response by:

James   Lalumandier, DDS, MPH James Lalumandier, DDS, MPH
Professor of Community Dentistry
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University