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5 Reasons Why Cigarettes Are Bad for Your Teeth, Gums, & Oral Health

Cartoon stating that smokers are 4 times more likely to lose teeth.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

It’s widely known that smoking is bad for your lungs and overall health, but did you know that smoking cigarettes can have a big impact on your oral health? Smoking can cause the health of your teeth and gums to decline and affect the appearance of your teeth as well.

1. Staining

Smoking cigarettes is known to cause stains on the surface of teeth, which can make them appear yellow or gray. It can also lead to the effects of teeth whitening treatments fading faster than they would otherwise. While other things that stain the teeth, like coffee, tea, and red wine, can be sipped through a straw to avoid staining the teeth, it’s difficult to continue smoking without affecting the cosmetic appearance of your smile.

2. Bad Breath

It’s normal for a patient’s breath to smell like smoke for a while after smoking a cigarette. However, smoking also dries out the mouth, which can lead to an increase in bad, odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Saliva naturally cleans teeth, so when a patient’s mouth is consistently dried out, they may notice that their breath smells less than fresh.

3. Plaque & Tartar

Another issue that arises when a patient’s mouth is dried out is that plaque has an easier time sticking to the teeth and gums. If it’s not cleared away properly, the acids that are contained in plaque can attack the enamel and cause cavities to develop. Plaque can also turn into tartar, which is much harder to remove effectively and can harm the teeth and gums.

4. Gum Disease

According to the CDC, patients who smoke are twice as likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which slows the patient’s ability to heal from infections. When a smoker begins developing gum disease, it’s more difficult for their body to fight off the infection. Severe periodontal disease can lead to teeth falling out or needing to be removed, as well as gum and jawbone damage.

5. Oral Cancer

It’s no secret that cigarettes contain chemicals that negatively affect the body. Many people associate smoking cigarettes with lung cancer. However, mouth and throat cancers are also common, as these areas are also regularly exposed to cigarette smoke. Oral cancer is serious, but it tends to be highly curable when it’s diagnosed and treated early, so we recommend visiting our office for routine oral cancer screenings.

Monitoring Your Oral Health in Corvallis, OR

Our Corvallis Dental Group team seeks to help our patients maintain good oral health. When you see us for regular dental cleanings and exams, we can monitor your dental health and prevent more serious problems. Your overall health and your oral health are interconnected. We encourage all of our patients to give up smoking and chewing tobacco to maintain good health. Talk to us if you need help finding resources to help you kick the habit.

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