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The effects of smoking on oral health

Find out how stopping smoking can improve your oral health

What effect does smoking have on our oral health? Fortunately for One You Surrey, our stop smoking advisor, Charlotte, was previously a dental nurse.

Most people are aware of how smoking causes discolouration of the teeth due to the tar and nicotine in cigarettes, but did you know there are many other ways in which smoking affects the teeth and gums?

Tobacco smoking reduces blood flow to the teeth and gums meaning gum disease or periodontal disease is often masked in smokers. This gum disease affects the bone structure that supports your teeth, and in severe cases, can cause your teeth to become wobbly and fall out. Smoking, therefore, causes gum disease to not only be hidden but also progress faster than in non-smokers.

Along with this, the restricted blood flow means the immune system is impaired so any ulcers, cuts and infections in the mouth take longer to heal, and recovery from dental procedures is much slower. 

Because tobacco is carcinogenic, smoking is one of the leading causes of oral cancer. Quitting smoking reduces this risk significantly but doesn’t bring it to zero, so it is still important to have regular dental appointments where the dentist will examine the mouth for any suspicious sores or lumps. 

So how can stopping smoking improve my oral health? 

The good news is that quitting smoking can stop gum disease from progressing as fast and improve dental hygiene. With the increased blood flow to the gums from stopping smoking, the characteristics of gum disease will be more obvious. Don’t be alarmed if your gums are redder than usual or bleed when you brush your teeth after you stop smoking.

A thorough clean at the dentist to remove plaque and decrease inflammation can reverse or at least slow its effects. Your body will also be able to fight off the infection much faster and so will heal quicker than when you smoked. This will keep the gums healthy and teeth strong.  

Fresh Breath

Your breath will be fresher. Cigarettes encourage the growth of bacteria inside the mouth and the smell of cigarettes lingers on your breath. Your sense of taste and smell will also improve within days of quitting.  

Whiter Teeth

Stopping smoking means the yellow/brown staining of teeth will not get any worse and can even be reversed. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to tell you about whitening treatments they may offer. Home kits and professional applications are usually available and could even be funded with the money saved from stopping smoking! 

Stopping smoking can not only improve your general health but also a better dental hygiene, such as:

  • A better sense of taste,
  • A Fresher breath
  • A bigger, brighter smile.

Read here to find out how else quitting smoking can benefit your health


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