How Smoking Ruins Your Mouth and More

If you are a regular smoker, you may have dealt with a lot of concern from your friends and family about your habits. And, you may even be concerned about your habits as well, but just find it hard to stop. No matter the case, it is important to understand the dangers of smoking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about 15% of the U.S. population (about 36.5 million people) currently smoke cigarettes and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking related disease.

One of the reasons smoking is so bad for your teeth is that it limits your mouth’s ability to fight off infections. This allows bacteria to build up in your mouth while you remain defenseless.

Here are some of the oral health issues that can come from smoking:

Gum Disease

Since your mouth’s ability to fight off infection is limited when smoking, an infection of your gums is more likely.

Gum disease starts when the bacteria in your teeth get under your gums. If these bacteria stay long enough, they will develop into plaque. This buildup is what leads to the start of gum disease.

Over time, your gums will start pulling away from your teeth and form spaces that become infected even more. This can affect the bone structure that supports your teeth and in some cases your teeth can fall out.

Here are a few facts from the CDC you should keep in mind if you are a smoker:

  • Your risk of developing gum disease is two times that of a nonsmoker.
  • The longer/more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your risk of gum disease.
  • Treatments for gum disease may not work as well for people who smoke.

Oral Cancer

This is the most serious oral health issue that can arise and it is astounding just how many of these cases are related to being a smoker.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, out of the 50,000 people who are diagnosed with oral cancer in the U.S. every year, an estimated 80% are smokers!

If you are a smoker, be sure to let your dentist and doctor know so they can check for any signs or symptoms.

Yellow Teeth

Not only does smoking discolor your teeth, it is one of the most obvious signs of telling whether or not someone is a smoker.

This is because the chemicals in tobacco attach to your enamel and cause your teeth to stain over time. Continued smoking may even cause staining effects that are impossible to reverse even with whitening.

Bad Breath

We have all smelled that ‘smoker’s breath’ on someone before. There’s really no way in hiding it either, especially if you just got done with a smoke session.

As you smoke, the cigarette particles remain in your mouth, which causes the smell to linger in your mouth for a while.

Smoking also leads to long term breath problems due to the buildup of bacteria it causes.

Beyond the Mouth

Smoking isn’t just bad for your mouth. It’s bad for your entire body.

According to the CDC, smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for about 25% of deaths every year. Thats more than 480,000 deaths every year just in the United States alone!

Smoking increases the risk of you developing coronary heart disease, having a stroke, developing lung cancer and more.

The good news is, quitting smoking can greatly reduce the risk of developing the above diseases.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
21st Family Dental


Dental Secrets is providing this information for informational purposes only. Please consult a dentist or health advisor for questions. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up to date.

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