How does smoking affect oral health?

Author: Dr Behnam Aminnejad. Posted: 12.12.23

Smoking has a significant and detrimental impact on oral health. The harmful effects of smoking on the oral cavity are well-documented, and they contribute to a range of problems. Here are some ways in which smoking affects oral health:

  1. Gum Disease (Periodontitis): Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease. It impairs blood flow to the gums, weakens the immune system's response, and hinders the ability of gum tissues to heal. Smokers are more likely to develop severe forms of gum disease, characterized by inflammation, infection, and eventual damage to the supporting structures of the teeth.
  2. Increased Plaque and Tartar Formation: Smoking promotes the accumulation of plaque and tartar on teeth. This not only contributes to gum disease but also increases the risk of cavities and other dental issues.
  3. Tooth Discoloration: Smoking can cause teeth to become discolored, turning them yellow or brown over time. Nicotine and tar in tobacco are responsible for these stains.
  4. Bad Breath: Smoking contributes to persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis. This is due to the presence of tobacco particles, the drying effect of smoking on oral tissues, and the increased risk of gum disease.
  5. Delayed Healing: Smokers experience slower healing processes, including delayed healing after oral surgeries, extractions, or other dental procedures. This can lead to complications and increased postoperative discomfort.
  6. Reduced Success of Dental Implants: Smoking is associated with a higher risk of dental implant failure. It interferes with the osseointegration process, where the implant fuses with the jawbone, leading to an increased likelihood of implant complications.
  7. Oral Cancer: Smoking is a major risk factor for oral cancer. Tobacco smoke contains numerous carcinogens that can lead to the development of cancer in the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat.
  8. Diminished Sense of Taste and Smell: Smoking can dull the sense of taste and smell, affecting the ability to fully enjoy food and beverages.
  9. Dry Mouth: Smoking contributes to dry mouth, which reduces saliva production. Saliva plays a crucial role in neutralizing acids, remineralizing teeth, and washing away food particles. A dry mouth environment increases the risk of cavities and other oral health issues.
  10. Compromised Immune Response: Smoking weakens the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections, including those affecting the gums and oral tissues.


In Summary

Given these adverse effects, quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial steps individuals can take to improve their oral health. Quitting reduces the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, and other oral health issues, while also contributing to overall better health.

If you would like more advice or would like to make appointment, please telephone the practice during open times: 01248 370054

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