5 Ways Smoking Ruins Your Oral Health

7 April 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


It is now common knowledge that smoking is particularly bad for your health. Everything from your heart to your lungs suffer from puffing away. However, your oral health suffers a particularly bad fate from the habit. Since your mouth is the gateway from which smoke enters the rest of your body, it is highly recommended that you steer clear from smoking completely. There are a few ways in which smoking will destroy your oral health, including those discussed in this article. 

Oral Cancer

Perhaps the deadliest of results that can occur due to smoking is oral cancer. Smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer in the world (with chewing tobacco being a close second). Smoking can greatly increase your chances of receiving cancer of the tongue, mouth, gums, throat, and even your lips. Each year, there are about 30,000 new cases of oral cancer reported, many of which are strongly linked to smoking. By the time that oral cancer is even identified, it is usually too late to remedy the situation without some sort of drastic action; in many cases, this can mean removal of the teeth or gums.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is an incredibly common oral malady, and smoking only exacerbates the results of it and also increases your chances of contracting it. Smoking means an increased number of bacteria that will make your mouth its home; the gums are a favorite rest spot of bacteria due to their warm, moist topography. In addition, smoking will actually lower your oxygen level, which means that your mouth will not be able to heal from bacteria attacks as quickly. This means that your mouth is more susceptible to open wounds and the inability to heal from these wounds, which can lead to infection.


Smoking can greatly affect the health of your teeth as well as the rest of your mouth. Just as bacteria build up can occur on the gums, smoking increases the amount of bacteria that will rest on your teeth. Plaque can become a serious problem for smokers. In fact, people who smoke get three times as many cavities as those who do not smoke. Bacteria build up can be combated by regular cleaning and tooth care, but your primary goal should be to stop smoking, as it greatly affects how much grime can build up on your teeth.

Bad Breath

Halitosis is a common effect of smoking. This isn't the kind of bad breath you get from eating a bit of garlic either; it can't be zapped away by popping a quick mint! There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes that pass into your mouth each time you smoke, most of these not meant for human consumption. These chemicals rest on your mouth and tongue and affect the odor of your mouth. In addition, smoking tends to dry out your mouth, which can lead to post-nasal drip. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to taste when kissing someone or sniff while sharing a secret!

Stained Teeth

You can usually spot a smoker by their smile; this is because nicotine can stain your teeth a yellowish color, giving it a very unnatural and not particularly attractive look. After years of smoking, the nicotine can actually work its way into the innards of your teeth. This means that all of the brushing in the world won't get rid of that nicotine sheen. You'll be stuck with a yellow smile for the rest of your days!

Some ways that smoking can wreak havoc on your mouth are merely aesthetic, while others that can deeply affect your day-to-day life, and can even lead to death. If you are a smoker, you need to ensure that you visit the dentist twice a year for check-ups, while some medical professionals even recommend going more often if you are a heavy smoker. If you don't quick smoking, the dentist can at least help you deal with oral problems before they spiral out of hand, as well as keep an eye out for early signs of oral cancer. 

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