Smoking can cause major oral health problems, aﬀecting mouth, gums and teeth. Smoking may result in conditions like tooth & lips discoloration, dry mouth, staining/dark spots on tongue and gums, plaque build-up, mouth sores, reduced ability to taste, bad breath, gum diseases, tooth loss and even mouth cancers.
Why do teeth get stained and lips and gums darken?
Discoloration of the teeth occurs due to deposition of nicotine and tar present in the cigarette you smoke. Nicotine by itself is colorless but picks up a yellow/brown tinge when it meets oxygen. When absorbed, the enamel on the teeth turns from white to yellow to brown. They also darken your lips and gums in no time. Years of smoking turns teeth almost brown in heavy/chain smokers.
How does one develop bad breath?
When you puﬀ the smoke, the smoke particles are left behind in your mouth, resulting in “stale smoker’s breath” that stinks. Smoking also decreases the ﬂow of saliva. Dry mouth, due to lesser saliva breeds bacteria that cause permanent and long-lasting foul bad breath.
• Discoloration of teeth, lips,gums
• Bad breath
• Plaque and tartar build-up
• Infected tooth roots & gums
• Gum diseases
• Tooth Loss
• Inﬂammation of salivary glands
• Lower success with dental implants
• Longer time to heal from any injury or surgery
• Mouth cancers
Why are smokers at a greater risk of Gum diseases?
The bacterial plaque is responsible for causing gum diseases. Smoking deprives the tissues of oxygen, including your gums. Lack of adequate oxygen do not allow the bacteria-infected-gums to heal. Plaque also accumulates at the gumline, aﬀecting attachment of gums to teeth. Body’s weakened immunity, together with these developments, produce inﬂamed bleeding gums, pain, build-up of mineral build-up called tartar, receding gumline and other advanced gum diseases.
The higher the number of cigarettes you smoke per day and the longer the number of years you smoke, higher is your risk for developing gum diseases.
- Smokers are 4 times more prone to developing gum diseases than non-smokers.
- The higher the number of cigarettes you smoke per day and the longer the number of years you smoke, higher is your risk for developing gum diseases.
Can smoking result in tooth loss?
When the gum disease aggravates, the gumline recedes, and the grip of the tooth to gums/bone weaken, leading to tooth loss.
Do remember, we all have been given only one set of permanent teeth to last us throughout our life. If the tooth loss occurs, a new tooth will not replace the lost one.
Does smoking aﬀects dental implants?
The bones in the jaw, that hold and support the teeth, may deteriorate due to advanced gum diseases. Dental implants, like an artiﬁcial tooth, are successful only when the bone is healthy and oﬀers suﬃcient space to support the tooth. Additionally, as the immune system is also weaker, healing takes a longer time in smokers.
Does smoking contribute heavily to oral cancer?
Studies suggest that up to 90% of oral cancers are due to tobacco usage. Oral cancers constitute cancers of mouth, tongue, etc. Inﬂammation may be caused to salivary glands and you may even develop white patches in your mouth/tongue.
How can quitting smoking improve your oral health?
Quitting smoking is the best way to ﬁght problems of oral health. A regular visit to dentist, complying with the treatment regime, staying away from cigarettes and following a good dental hygiene can bring back the smile you once had as a non-smoker. A shining sparkling white smile!
So, when are you quitting smoking?
DISCLAIMER: "The scientiﬁc/technical content of this publication has been developed for educational purpose only and you are requested to consult a Registered Medical Practitioner for appropriate diagnosis and treatment."
- Smoking and oral health - https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/sundry/smoking-and-oral-health
- University of Berkeley California, Wellness Letter, January 2008 Issue
- American Cancer Society, September 2012.http://www.cancer.org
- Smoking and Oral Health. Web MD. October 26,2012. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/smoking-oral-health
- Smoking Nearly Doubles Root Canal Requirements. MedPage. October 29, http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DentalHealth/2736