Few people start smoking with the intent to get hooked on cigarettes. Often, smokers try their first cigarette to fit in with friends or family members who smoke. But chronic smoking can have devastating effects on your body, including your mouth.
While most people are aware of the negative impact that smoking could have on their overall health, many don’t know how it affects their oral health.
In addition to contributing to gum disease, smoking can increase your risk for many other oral health problems, including:
But how does this happen? The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the tissue in your mouth and throat, and that damage gives bacteria an easy way to infect you. Smoking also weakens your body’s ability to fight off infections, including infections in your gums.
The good news is that the risk of gum disease, tooth loss and many other oral health problems decreases after you quit smoking.
If you’d like to quit smoking, there are a variety of methods you can try.
Most of these methods can be used in conjunction with others. To make sure you’re staying safe, talk to your primary care physician about what you’re doing and how it’s working.
When you decide it’s time to quit, talk to your dentist or physician and ask them to refer you to counseling and support programs. You can also get a referral from your local hospital, health department, the American Cancer Society Quitline at 800-227-2345 or your home state’s Quitline at 800-784-8669.
Giving up smoking isn’t easy, but many people have succeeded in quitting. Soon after you stop smoking, you may notice that food tastes better, your sense of smell is more acute and you can more easily be active without getting winded. And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re keeping your mouth — and your entire body — healthy.
Last updated April 15, 2022
The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.