Although the frequent use of tobacco has lowered in recent years, smoking is still a major public health problem worldwide. Chewing tobacco, smoking tobacco and using e-cigarettes (vaping) doesn’t just affect your lungs – it hurts your entire body, including your mouth. In short: people who smoke are at a higher risk of developing oral (mouth cancer), gum disease, general gum problems, bad breath, tooth decay and tooth loss, especially after long-term use.
Does Smoking Worsen Your Teeth?
Yes, smoking does worsen the health of your teeth and overall mouth. Smoking doesn’t just cause discoloration from the nicotine and tar in tobacco – it can also ruin your enamel and cause gum disease, which can result in loss of teeth if it is left untreated.
Common Long-Term Effects Smoking Has On Oral Health
Above, briefly mentioned some of the effects smoking and vaping can have on your teeth. Here’s a more extensive list of the long-term oral health effects you can experience if you keep smoking:
- Chronic bad breath
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Discolored teeth and tongue
- Dulled sense of both smell and taste
- Increased buildup of plaque and tartar
- Quicker loss of bone within the jaw
- Oral cancer
- Mouth ulcers
- Slower healing of the mouth after periodontal (gum) treatments, tooth extractions or other oral surgeries
- Lowered success rate of dental implants
- Mouth sores
Will My Teeth Get Better if I Quit Smoking?
No matter how long you’ve been smoking, stopping the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes will help improve your oral health. For example, at the end of the 12-month study, researchers noticed improvements in the teeth and gum health of the one-fifth of the participants who had stopped smoking. In addition to protecting your teeth, quitting smoking also lowers the chance of developing oral cancer, lung disease and heart disease, among others.
Can You Fix Smoker Teeth?
Regular cleanings, preferably every 6-months, at your New York dentist’s office along with daily brushing, flossing and mouthwash can help treat early gum disease associated with smoking. Additionally, professional whitening can remove discoloration and staining to brighten the teeth.
If you have deeper oral health problems due to smoking, there are treatments available. For example, surgery may be recommended to remove tartar that has built up under the gums or surgery to heal bone or gum loss due to periodontitis may be recommended.
Treatments are dependent upon the issue and we recommend consulting with your dentist first to determine the best procedure to fix “smoker teeth”.