Teeth & Tobacco: Breaking the Habit


For many years now, society has known the detrimental effects of smoking on our health, but did you know that cigarettes can have a significant impact on the health and appearance of your teeth as well? We’ve discussed the importance of a radiant, confident smile, but it’s important to know that smoking can do worse than give you a yellow smile. In this blog post, we will explore the relationship between cigarettes and teeth, shedding light on the various oral health issues that smokers may face.

  1. Stained Teeth: One of the most apparent and stubborn consequences of smoking is teeth discoloration. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes can easily stain the tooth’s outer layer, the enamel, causing teeth to turn yellow to brown over time. Not only are these stubborn stains unsightly, but they can also be challenging to remove through regular brushing and flossing alone. Professional teeth whitening treatments or cosmetic dentistry procedures may be necessary to restore the natural whiteness of your teeth.
  2. Bad Breath: Cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful to overall and oral health. The combustion of tobacco releases foul-smelling compounds that can linger in the mouth, leading to persistent bad breath. Compounding that with regular smoking can make it difficult to hide this unpleasant odor with mouthwash or breath fresheners. Quitting smoking is the most effective way to combat chronic bad breath and regain fresh breath.
  3. Gum Disease: Smoking has been strongly linked to an increased risk of gum disease. The harmful chemicals in cigarettes irritate and inflame the gums (gingivitis), which can lead to persistent hard to treat infections. Common symptoms include easy bleeding gums, gum recession, and even tooth loss. Smoking can also weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off what were once minor gum infections. If you are a smoker, it is crucial to estbalish and maintain excellent oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly to monitor and manage any signs of gum disease.
  4. Slower Healing: Smoking significantly hampers the body’s ability to heal itself, and this applies to the oral cavity as well. Common dental procedures, such as extractions or implant placements, may take longer to heal in smokers compared to non-smokers. The chemicals in cigarettes constrict blood vessels, reducing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the gums and jawbone. This compromises the body’s natural healing mechanisms, prolonging recovery time and increasing the risk of complications following dental treatments.
  5. Oral Cancer: Perhaps the most severe consequence of smoking on oral health is the increased risk of developing cancer. For many years, we have known about tobacco’s association with lung cancer, but tobacco’s effects also impact the oral cavity. Tobacco smoke contains carcinogenic substances that can damage the cells in the mouth and throat. Oral cancer can manifest as persistent sores, red or white patches, difficulty swallowing, or a persistent sore throat. Early detection is critical for successful treatment, which is why regular dental check-ups are essential for smokers. Oral cancers vary in their types, but advanced cancers typically have very serious treatments with life altering consequences. At Lamar Dental, our comprehensive dental check-ups include oral health screening so we can check out those hard to see areas. Smoking cessaton significantly reduces the risk of developing oral cancer and improves overall health. It’s never too late to quit!


Smoking poses significant risks to both our general health and oral well-being. From teeth staining and bad breath to gum disease and oral cancer, the relationship between cigarettes and teeth is a harmful one. By quitting smoking and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, we can protect our teeth and improve our overall health. Your smile is worth it!

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