Skip to Main Content
the else fullsize desktop banner img

Smoking and Your Oral Health


Smoking and Your Oral Health

Mar 2 • 2 min read

Smoking and your oral health

It’s widely recognized that smoking poses severe health risks, contributing to a range of medical conditions and life-threatening diseases. These include heart disease, lung disease, cancer, certain eye conditions, and immune system issues. However, it’s crucial to understand that smoking has detrimental effects on oral health as well, significantly impacting teeth, gums, and jaws. Delve into the details to comprehend why abstaining from smoking is the best choice for your oral well-being.

The Dangers of Smoking

Smoking gives rise to numerous grave oral health concerns, including gum disease (periodontal disease), tooth loss, and, in severe instances, mouth cancer.

Smoking can also trigger various dental issues, including:

  1. Tooth Discoloration
  2. Inflammation of the salivary glands on the roof of the mouth
  3. Halitosis (bad breath)
  4. Accelerated bone loss in the jaw
  5. Accumulation of tartar and plaque on the teeth
  6. Elevated risk of gum disease, culminating in tooth loss
  7. Augmented susceptibility to leukoplakia, characterized by white patches inside the mouth
  8. Diminished success rate in dental implant procedures
  9. Delayed recovery following tooth extraction, oral surgery, or periodontal treatment
  10. Amplified risk of oral cancer development

Smoking and Gum Disease

Tobacco smoking disrupts the attachment of soft tissues and bone in the mouth, predisposing individuals to gum disease. It specifically interferes with the normal functioning of gum tissue cells, rendering tobacco smokers more vulnerable to periodontal disease. Smoking also impedes blood circulation to the gums, hampering the healing process after routine dental procedures such as tooth extractions.

Dental Issues Linked to Pipe and Cigar Smoking

Smoking pipes and cigars, akin to cigarettes, pose oral health risks. A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association reveals that cigar and pipe smokers experience tooth and jawbone loss at rates comparable to cigarette smokers. Beyond these concerns, cigar and pipe smokers remain susceptible to oral and throat cancers, along with other oral health problems, even if they do not inhale the smoke. Smoking pipes and cigars can also give rise to halitosis, tooth staining, and heightened gum disease risks.

Are Smokeless Tobacco Products Safer?

Regrettably, smokeless tobacco products, such as snuff and chewing tobacco, contain chemicals proven to elevate the risk of oral cancers. Chewing tobacco, in particular, yields nicotine levels higher than cigarettes, making cessation more challenging. A single can of snuff contains more nicotine than 60 cigarettes.

Furthermore, smokeless tobacco can irritate gum tissue, prompting it to recede from the teeth. Receding gum tissue exposes tooth roots, increasing the risk of decay. Exposed tooth roots are also more sensitive to temperature variations in food and beverages. The added sugars used to enhance the flavor of smokeless tobacco further raise the risk of tooth decay.

How Your Dentist Can Assist

Regular dental check-ups are essential to ensure the health of your teeth, gums, and jaws. Dentists also inspect the tongue, cheeks, and throat for signs of oral health conditions requiring further evaluation. If you encounter difficulties in quitting smoking, your dentist can connect you with specialists or self-help groups providing support and information to facilitate your cessation journey.

Ready for your first appointment?