Abacus Dental Care, 52 Lennon Drive, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AS

How does smoking affect your oral health?

Smoking has negative effects on your teeth, gums and overall oral health. Cigarettes prevent your mouth’s ability to fight off infection, making you susceptible to the harmful bacterias produced by smoking leading to increased plaque build up. This plaque and calculus build up can eventually lead to gum disease. Here are some of the oral health issues associated with smoking:

Bad Breath

The chemicals from smoking a cigarette remain in the mouth a lot longer after a cigarette is finished which in turn makes a person’s breath smell of cigarette smoke and tobacco. The longer-term effects of smoking also contribute to more frequent bad breath. The overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth leads to halitosis and unfortunately no amount of brushing or gargling with mouthwash will improve the smell because it is caused by gum disease, oral sores, and decay. The only solution is to stop smoking entirely and work with a dentist you trust to address the underlying issues caused by smoking. Smoking long term can also lead to the inflammation of the salivary glands, which causes painful swelling in the face and could require surgery if salivary gland stones develop.

Discoloured Teeth

Yellowed and stained teeth are the most obvious signs that someone smokes cigarettes. The chemicals in the tobacco stick easily to the enamel in your teeth, which leads to staining over time. Teeth whitening treatments can help to slow down the staining process, but if you continue to smoke your teeth are likely to keep becoming discoloured.

Delayed Healing Processes

As well as increasing the risk of treatments such as tooth extraction and oral surgery, smoking also slows down your body’s ability to recover from procedures like these. People who smoke also have a much lower rate of successful dental implant procedures and if the bone loss is too great, dental implants may not be able to be placed at all. The longer your mouth spends in this vulnerable state, the more prone you are to developing further complications. Your dentist can help to prevent this as much as possible, but the treatment plans your dentist can provide are only so effective if the patient does not quit smoking.

Gum Disease

According to research by the CDC, smokers are twice as at risk of developing gum disease as nonsmokers and the risk increases with every cigarette you smoke. Unfortunately, even though gum disease treatments are available, these treatments do not work as well on smokers. Smoking decreases your mouth’s ability to fight off harmful bacteria, this allows for the bacteria to build up on your teeth and this eventually affects your gums. If left untreated, your gums can pull away from teeth and cause the underlying bone structures in your jaw to weaken. Periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease. The bone and tissue holding your teeth in place begin to break down, causing your teeth to become wobbly and loose, fall out or need to be extracted. Losing teeth is an unfortunate outcome for many heavy smokers because a smoker’s mouth doesn’t ever really get a break long enough to heal from the damage being caused. Smoking counteracts the effects of gum disease treatments such as brushing, flossing, prescription mouth rinses, and tartar removal treatments.

Oral Cancer

New cases of mouth cancer in the UK reached 8,846 last year and this has increased by 34% in the last decade and by 103% compared with 20 years’ ago. 58% of mouth cancers appear on the tongue and tonsils and last year, 3,034 people in the UK lost their life to mouth cancer. Oral cancer begins as a white or red patch in the mouth accompanied by difficulty chewing or swallowing, numbness in the jaw, and even pain in the ear. Whilst there may be other causes for these symptoms, it is recommended that anyone who experiences these symptoms for more than two weeks should see a doctor. The earlier cancer is detected, the more effective treatment will be.
What can I do to prevent these problems?

Here at Abacus Dental Care our dentists can put together a treatment plan to help prevent the issues associated with smoking, but the only way to minimise the risk completely is to quit. Poor oral health is just one of the many issues caused by smoking and quitting will not only improve your oral health but your general health as well.

Back to Blog

Get in touch

Abacus Dental - Logo

52 Lennon Drive, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AS

Facebook Instragram Twitter

Ask us a question