How Does Smoking Affect Your Mouth?

With a new focus on preventing smoking for the younger demographics, it’s common to see a commercial about the detrimental effects of smoking on your overall health. While they often present yellowing teeth as a terrible side effect (which it is), did you know that smoking can lead to much more severe oral health problems?

Stained and Discolored TeethClose up young man smoking a cigarette.

One of the first indications or poor oral health due to smoking is the discoloration of your teeth. Due to the nicotine and tar that is in tobacco, your teeth quickly lose their shade of white. While regular brushing will help, the consistent use of tobacco products over time will cause teeth to yellow, and eventually turn closer to a shade of brown.

Gum Disease and Bacteria

People who smoke often are more likely to produce a bacterial plaque that can lead to gum disease. Because smoking weaken’s your body’s immune system, it makes it more difficult to fight off a gum infection. In addition to the added chemicals from the smoke, your body is incapable of healing your gums, leading to infections and tooth loss.

Oral Cancer

The use of smokeless tobacco, as well as smoking cigarettes, can be a direct factor in the contracting cancers of the mouth. As mentioned with gum disease, your body does not have the ability to fend off the bacteria it needs to heal. Because of this, any diseases of the mouth will spread faster, posing larger, more severe issues.

How Can I Prevent These Issues?

If you don’t want to have bad breath, yellow teeth, or potentially life altering health issues, the best course of action is to quit smoking! The CDC outlines a few steps to help aid you in the process:

  1. Set a date to quit.
  2. Seek support from your friends and family, as well as your doctor, dentist, counselor, etc.
  3. Practice behavioral distractions when the urge to smoke comes up.
  4. Make use of medications as directed.
  5. Prepare for setbacks and seek help.

If you’re experiencing oral health issues, or would like to discuss more about getting your oral health back on track, contact Manhattan Dental Arts today for more information.