Smoking and Oral Health

Everybody knows that smoking wreaks havoc on your health. While your teeth may not be the first thing you think of when considering the dangers of smoking, any kind of tobacco use can bring about some serious damage to your mouth.

Smoking leads to dental problems, including:

Bad breath

Tooth discoloration

Increased buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth

Inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth

Increased loss of bone within the jaw

Increased risk of developing gum disease, a leading cause of tooth loss

Delayed healing process following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or oral surgery

Lower success rate of dental implant procedures

Increased risk of developing oral cancer

How to remove smoking stains from teeth?

The nicotine and tar in tobacco smoke can cause yellow or stained teeth. Brushing your teeth several times a day is one way to improve their appearance. This not only prevents staining, it also protects against gum disease.

It also helps to choose a toothpaste that’s designed to fight teeth stains for people who smoke. These toothpastes include special ingredients to help improve discoloration.

Look for the following ingredients:

baking soda

hydrogen peroxide

activated charcoal

coconut oil


You can also whiten teeth at home using homemade toothpaste. To do this, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to baking soda. Be careful not to use too strong of a solution of hydrogen peroxide, though. You could damage your teeth.

How to combat bad breath from smoking?

“Smoker’s breath” is another issue some people have. This is caused by early stages of gum disease or dry mouth due to decreased saliva production.

Here are a few options to help eliminate smoker’s breath:

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day.

Increase your fluid intake to prevent dry mouth.

Use an antibacterial mouthwash for dry mouth.

Chew sugarless gum.

Suck on a peppermint.

Schedule regular dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.

•          Cut back on smoking, or stop altogether. Give these tips a try to help you quit cold turkey.

How Does Smoking Lead to Gum Disease?

Smoking and other tobacco products can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. More specifically, it appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease, and also seems to impair blood flow to the gums – which may affect wound healing.

Do Pipe and Cigar Smoking Cause Dental Problems?

Yes, like cigarettes, pipes and cigars do lead to oral health problems. According to results of a 23-year long study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, cigar smokers experience tooth loss and alveolar bone loss (bone loss within the jawbone that anchors teeth) at rates equivalent to those of cigarette smokers. Pipe smokers also have a similar risk of tooth loss as cigarette smokers. Beyond these risks, pipe and cigar smokers are still at risk for oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancers — even if they don’t inhale — and other oral consequences — bad breath, stained teeth, and increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease.


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