Smoking can do major damage to your teeth, and leave you with lasting oral damage if cessation is not reached. Let’s learn more about this.

Cigarettes & Your Teeth

Smoking tobacco can cause a multitude of oral problems, not limited to but including: tooth staining, bad breath, and reduced blood circulation within the mouth (and entire body!) In order to stop this process, one must follow through with smoking cessation, which will slowly return these senses and improve the blood flow, leading to an overall healthier mouth. Let’s go over how smoking tobacco affects your oral health.

Five Ways Smoking Affects Oral Health

1: Tooth Stains

Regularly smoking cigarettes, and even smoking them on occasion, leaves you with yellow teeth. This is caused by the tar buildup that happens each time you inhale the smoke. Don’t fret, though, this damage can be reduced if one follows through with smoking cessation. If you decide to continue smoking cigarettes, make sure to brush three times each day, and do not forget flossing and mouthwash. 

2: Lack of Taste

Apart from the poor blood circulation, the main cause of poor taste is due to the smoke continuously being inhaled. This causes a build up of tar inside of the mouth, although this is particularly apparent on the tongue. Many smokers have a hairy tongue, which can cause poor taste and long papillae. An easy way to know if you have smokers tongue is to simply look at the top of your tongue; if it appears dark and hairy, you likely have it. Always consult your dentist if you’re concerned about your oral health.

3: Poor Blood Circulation 

Smoking tobacco means that you are consuming nicotine, a drug that vastly inhibits proper blood flow. This not only affects many parts of the body, including major arteries, the heart, brain and more, but drastically reduces the blood flow within the mouth. This inhibits your proper blood flow of the gums and tongue, leading to all sorts of diseases; even tooth abscesses. The good news is that this improves greatly after only a few weeks after quitting.

4: Gum Disease

Another negative possibility of smoking cigarettes is the risk of gum disease; particularly Periodontal gum disease. This causes your gums to lose their ability to fight infection, leading to infection of the gums causing tooth abscesses, tooth loss and bacteria buildup that otherwise wouldn’t happen. If you do not have this disease yet, successful smoking cessation will lower the chances of developing this disease dramatically, only after a couple of weeks. Smoking also raises the risk of developing more common gum diseases, such as gingivitis. 

5: Plaque Buildup 

Smoking Cigarettes also causes excess plaque build-up on the surface of your teeth, largely due to bacteria growth caused by the tar settling within the mouth. This will lead to all sorts of dental problems, including tooth erosion, cavities, and other negative effects. Luckily, smoking cessation drastically slows this process, and your mouth will likely return to normal bacteria balance within just a couple of weeks. This would be a good opportunity to visit a dentist, so you may have a routine cleaning done. It’s also the best time to ask questions about your overall oral health.

Tips To Quit

Nicotine Patches 

These patches are placed typically on the shoulder, and work by slowly releasing a small amount of nicotine over a 24 hour period. This helps those who’ve gone the cold turkey route not experience bad withdrawal symptoms. This also lowers the chances of relapse.


There are several medications available that help you quit, and are often successful. They are typically prescribed by a doctor and are taken for roughly a month, although the time largely depends on the person. Ask your doctor about these medications and which would be best for you.

Cold Turkey

This route involves nothing but a ton of dedication and will power. Many individuals quit using this method, yet this method also has the highest relapse rate, it’s debated whether or not using patches are considered cold turkey, but it’s close, so you could also use patches to help you along this journey. There is also nicotine gum available, which is chewed and placed behind the bottom lip.

Final Thoughts 

Smoking cigarettes is an addictive activity, but it can undoubtedly be stopped. Millions of people quit each year, and all of them experience positive dental health effects. Just one week after smoking, blood flow begins to improve in the gums, and bacteria begins to return to normal. Plus, taste will have returned allowing you to enjoy your favorite food and beverages again. Is smoking worth it to you?

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