Top 6 Ways in Which Smoking Affects Oral Health

If you smoke or know someone who does, you may want to pay attention to a report by The Center for Disease Control, which states that over a third of smokers have three or more dental issues, and that out of every 100 adults, 15 smoke. That’s a huge number of individuals battling an addiction that’s not only hard to quit, but also damaging to their overall health.

Most people only know the effect of smoking on lungs, but tend to overlook how damaging smoking is to oral health. Like a periodontist would advise you, it’s not just cigarettes-pipe, chewing tobacco, cigars and even vaping have negative effects to your oral health as well.

1. Stained Teeth

When thinking about the way in which tobacco affects oral health, stained teeth will come in the mind of most people. Nicotine turns yellow after exposure to oxygen, and it can settle into your teeth’s microscopic pores. This can result in nasty stains, and unsurprisingly, e-cigarettes can give you the same effect. Chewing tobacco stains even more, as nicotine mixes with saliva.

2. Diminished Taste

Tobacco seems to have a specific taste that chewers and smokers adore. However, this flavor comes with its own price-less functional taste buds. Over time, nicotine makes it hard for you to accurately detect and experience taste. If you’re a connoisseur of culinary delights, you may not find this as a reasonable trade-off.

3. Dry Mouth

Saliva is crucial; it washes away toxic bacteria and harmful particles that latch onto your gums and teeth. Tobacco inhibits the production of saliva, which means any food or drink elements that you don’t swallow stay in your mouth, and they may render your mouth dry along with other negative effects to your oral health.

4. Gum Disease

Smoking affects how the gum tissue functions as well as the bone attachment to your teeth. Overtime, tobacco contributes to tartar, which accumulates below and above the gum line, contributing to gum disease. Besides, chewing tobacco and smoking usually damage cells in the gums, which may potentially hasten the development of periodontitis.

5. Diminished enamel

Tobacco may directly or indirectly, wear down your teeth’s enamel, and it’s not possible to restore tooth enamel. Tobacco has an abrasive chemical composition, and chewing the tobacco makes the effect more significant. The indirect effect of tobacco is that it reduces saliva secretion, and so leftover food particles in the mouth won’t wash away; they’ll attack your enamel instead.

6. Slower Healing

Tobacco is known to affect the ability of the mouth to heal itself from all sorts of trauma-be it tooth extraction, oral surgery, or bleeding gums. The gradual healing can result in more problems, such as an increased risk of catching infections that a tobacco-weakened mouth can’t possibly fight off.


Chewing tobacco is as risky as smoking, and while not adequate research has been carried out on vaping, inhalation of nicotine via the mouth, may not be a safer alternative either. If you’re addicted to smoking, your best bet is to go for therapy to help you quit the habit altogether. You’ll see an improvement in both your oral and overall health.

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