Smoking and Your Dental Health

Unless you’ve been living on Mars or under the rock somewhere, chances are that you have heard that smoking is not only bad for you, it could literally kill you — albeit not immediately.



While there’s talk about the overall effects on the body, what isn’t often talked about is its direct impact on its first point of contact, which is the mouth. If you are serious about your dental health and want to improve it, but are currently an avid smoker like myself, this article is for both of us.

In this article, we’ll show you the damages that smoking can do to your teeth and mouth as well as what it can do to your overall health. We know you’ve been told that it can cause lung cancer, but because its effects aren’t readily obvious, there’s always the tendency to ignore the warning.

Bad Breath 

Come on, we know you drink Listerine, suck on breath mints or tic-tac, chew gum or lick something minty. While this works in the short term, the reality is it doesn’t work long term — the lingering effects of the habit still remain.

For instance, smoking interferes with the production of saliva, which is necessary for keeping your breath fresh. But because of this, your salivary gland ends up producing far less saliva, resulting in the increased population of bacteria in your mouth, dry mouth and the subsequent bad breath.

Yellowed Teeth

Ever seen a smoked animal head? What do the teeth look like? Yellow, right? Well, the same goes for smokers. Every time you drag a puff, you’re slowly producing the same results as you would if your head was set on fire.

Smoking results in yellowed teeth with dark patches lining the junction between the teeth and the gums. This also results in irritation and discoloration to the gums themselves.

Increases the Risk of Gum Disease

Smoking has been linked to gum diseases. Gum diseases triggered by smoking occur as the attachment of soft tissue and bone in and around the teeth becomes compromised.

Your gums need these gum tissue cells to function optimally and reproduce the necessary tissues at a specific rate. What happens in smokers is that the production of these cells is slowed down, resulting in unhealthy gums as well as the restriction of blood flow to the gums, courtesy of the fact that nicotine is a vasoconstrictor.

As a result, most smokers become prone to oral infections, which when left unattended can result in gum disease and a slower healing of oral wounds.

Possible Cause of Leukoplakia

Ever seen anyone with white patches in their mouths? Well, these repulsive patches aren’t only detrimental to your health, they do absolutely nothing for your social and sex life — after all, no one wants to kiss anyone with white patches in their mouth.

These white patches which can be found on the tongue, the floor of the mouth or inner cheeks are often caused by a severe irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth. While there are many causes of this irritation, one of the more common causes is smoking.

Other possible side effects include the possibility of developing oral cancer, suffering inflamed salivary glands and delays healing from oral procedures. The best thing to do, therefore, is to stop smoking today and see a professional, like Ft. Lauderdale Dentist Dr. Johnson, about improving your oral health.

If you must get your nicotine fix, we would suggest cutting out traditional cigarettes and opt for e-cigs or nicotine patches. They may not be the real thing, but they get the job done and seem to be the slightly healthier alternative. That said, there’s never going to be a “good time” to quit…except today, of course.