Smoking and oral health how does smoking affect your teeth and gums

How Does Smoking and Vaping Impact Oral Health?

How Does Smoking and Vaping Impact Oral Health?

Research has proven time and again that smoking is harmful to oral health. There is no denying it – smoking has a lasting and significant impact on your oral health. 

How exactly does smoking or vaping affect oral health and how can you prevent this damage? In this article, we’ll take you through how smoking affects oral health and oral hygiene tips for smokers and vapers.

How Does Smoking Affect Oral Health?

Smoking is linked to a number of oral issues like bad breath, gum diseases, discolouration of teeth, excessive build-up of plaque and more. The severity of damage can range from tooth discolouration to oral cancers. The best solution for healthy teeth and gums is to quit smoking completely, which is easier said than done.

Brisbane Smiles has a team of experienced dental surgeons who can help you deal with oral problems caused by smoking.

Oral Health Issues Caused by Smoking

Smokers are at an increased risk of developing:

  • Tooth stains
  • Mouth discolouration
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Gum disease from the build-up of plaque
  • Leukoplakia, which can lead to cancer of the lungs, throat or mouth
  • A longer recovery time recovering from dental procedures
  • Hairy tongue, where the tongue turns into a yellow, black, purple or brown colour, giving the impression of being hairy


Does Smoking Affect Your Teeth and Gums?

Smoking can affect the condition of your teeth and gums, sometimes leading to severe gum disease. Gum disease occurs when the bacteria on your teeth infect your gums. This can lead to bleeding gums, inflammation and loss of teeth.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Smokers

Smoking will harm your teeth and mouth. Without proper dental care, your dental hygiene can drop from bad to worse. Brushing twice a day and using floss and mouthwash is not enough if you are a smoker. To prevent severe dental problems, here are a few things that you should remember:

  • While non-smokers need to visit the dentist twice a year at least, smokers should go more often.
  • Frequent dentist visits will enable your dentist to check for signs of gum diseases or other oral health problems.
  • Regular cleans by professionals are recommended. Smokers and tobacco users tend to build stains on their teeth, which cannot be eliminated by regular brushing alone. Dentists use medicated products that help in the removal of tough stains without impacting the teeth or gums negatively.
  • Smokers should avoid eating certain foods that are high in acidic content, as they can further damage the teeth and gums.

Smokers are also recommended to use targeted toothpaste and mouthwashes that can help to keep teeth and gums healthy. Talk to our Brisbane Smiles team of dental health specialists for recommendations.

Does Oral Health Improve After Quitting Smoking?

Quitting smoking has been shown to improve oral health in a variety of ways, including preventing severe damage. After quitting smoking, your teeth and gums are likely to become healthier.

Do Teeth Whiten After Quitting Smoking?

Discolouration of the mouth is a common side effect of smoking. Once you quit smoking, your tissue may return to a healthier colour within 1-3 years. However, to improve the appearance of discoloured teeth, a whitening treatment may be the best course of action. Chat to the Brisbane Smiles experts to discuss your treatment options.

How Vaping Can Harm Oral Health

Contrary to burning tobacco, E-Cigarettes work by heating a liquid to create a vapour that is inhaled. These liquids are made of propylene glycol (PG), glycerine, flavourings such as diacetyl (a chemical linked to severe lung disease), water and nicotine. As a result, it’s perceived to be “less harmful” than smoking traditional cigarettes. However, there are associated risks. While studies are mostly inconclusive due to its new nature, harmful toxins are still present in the vapour.

So, what are the effects of vaping on oral health?

Dry Mouth — Propylene glycol found in E-Cigarettes causes mouth dryness. PG breaks down into acetic acid, lactic acid and propionaldehyde, harming the soft tissues and enamel in your mouth. Your risk of decay, mouth sores and gum disease are significantly increased.

Gum disease — Nicotine restricts blood flow to the gums, decreases tissue turnover, impacts cell function and thus increases the risk of gum disease. 

Tooth discolouration — Whilst it doesn’t contain tar, nicotine is still present which causes staining. 

Tooth decay — The addition of glycerine and flavourings together causes an increase in biofilm formation and microbial adhesion. This combination increases the mouth’s susceptibility to cavity-causing bacteria.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Vapers

By exposing the teeth to vaping aerosol, it increases the risk of dry mouth. This can result in gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay. If you vape, be sure to:

  • Perform a regular dental hygiene routine, incorporating toothpaste with fluoride 
  • Visit your dentist on a regular basis, for a clean every six months and to treat any dental problems
  • Drink water before and after you vape to avoid dry mouth


Improving Your Oral Health Today

Discuss your dental health concerns with the friendly team of dental experts at Brisbane Smiles. We can tailor a treatment plan to best suit your current lifestyle and concerns.

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