Smoking and Oral Health


Needless to say, smoking has a huge impact on one’s oral health. Long-term tobacco use may result in various dental problems and gum diseases.

Dental problems caused by smoking

  • Breath odor
  • Stained teeth and other discoloration
  • Salivary gland disorders and inflammation
  • Plaque and tartar buildup
  • Jawbone loss and deterioration
  • Increased risk of leukoplakia patches (thick, white patches that form on your tongue and the lining of your mouth)
  • Increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss
  • Slowed healing speed
  • Lowered success rate of dental implants
  • Increased risk of oral cancer

Smoking and gum disease

Tobacco use is proven to loosen the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. Smoking also disrupts the function of gum tissue cells, making them more prone to infections. Damaged gum tissues may restrict the blood supply to the gums, slowing down healing.

Are pipes and cigars dangerous?

Pipes and cigars are not any safer than cigarettes. A study reveals that cigar smokers suffer from tooth loss and alveolar bone loss just as much as cigarette smokers do. Even if pipe and cigar smokers do not inhale the smoke, they are still at risk of other oral problems such as bad breath and tooth discoloration.

Are tobacco products without smoke safe?

Tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco are reported to contain at least 28 chemicals associated with increased risks of oral cancer and cancer of the throat and esophagus. Chewing tobacco has a higher level of nicotine than cigarettes, and thus is more addictive. One can of snuff contains more nicotine than 60 cigarettes.

Smokeless tobacco may cause gum irritation and receding gums, exposing the roots of your teeth and putting you at risk of tooth decay. When the roots of your teeth are exposed, you are more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages, which leads to a loss of appetite. The sugar content of smokeless tobacco contributes to tooth decay. Additionally, many smokeless tobacco products contain sand and grit, which can wear down your teeth.

Tips to quit tobacco

Even if you have been using tobacco for a long time, quitting now can still improve your oral health. If you can’t quit completely, try to limit your consumption as much as possible. Research shows that smokers who reduce their smoking habit experience a decreased risk of oral problems. If you find it hard to quit, you may seek help from your dentist or doctor so they can prescribe you with nicotine replacement options to ease withdrawal symptoms. Smoking cessation classes and support groups are available in many cities. You may also ask your doctor to refer you to a drug therapy program to help with the quitting process.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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