The Effects of Smoking and Using Tobacco on Oral Health

Woman Smoking a Cigarette

Blog Highlights:

  • Having bad breath is just the beginning of what smoking can do to your oral health
  • Smoking and tobacco use can cause oral cancers and gingivitis
  • The only way for smokers to decrease their risk for developing these diseases is to quit
  • Nicotine can make it very hard for smokers to quit because of its addictive properties
  • As much as 20 million Americans have died in the last 50 years as a result of tobacco use and smoking
  • People who want to quit can get a free booklet and more information at the Surgeon General’s website

We all know that smoking is very dangerous to your health. This is why it should not be a surprise for anyone to know that cigarettes and even chewing tobacco can have a profound negative impact on your oral health. Many know that tobacco use can cause bad breath, but little do people know that this side effect is the least of what smokers have to worry about.

The effects of smoking and tobacco use on oral health include:

  • Oral cancer
  • Gum disease or gingivitis
  • Stained teeth
  • Stained tongue
  • Slow healing after oral surgery or tooth extraction
  • Difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental issues

Smokers and tobacco users need to understand that the only way to decrease their risk for developing these oral complications and other health problems is to simply quit. Nicotine which can be found in cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cigars has an addictive quality that can make quitting very hard. This is why experts recommend that people who are planning to quit must have a realistic plan as well as a support network. It is important for them to write down their reasons for quitting. It would also be very helpful for them to use exercise, chewing gum, and other hobbies and activities to keep themselves occupied during the process. One can also ask their physician or dentist for available medications which might help them end their tobacco use.

The U.S. marked the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report on Smoking and health last January 2014. They marked the anniversary by expanding the list of health problems which has been associated with smoking. Over the course of 5 decades, as much as 20 million Americans have died as a result of tobacco use.  Many of these deaths were of adults who were identified as smokers. But as much as 2.5 million of these deaths were of non-smokers. These non-smokers have died due to secondhand smoke, or from air that has been polluted by other people’s use of cigarettes.

The Surgeon General’s office offers the public a free, easy-to-read, illustrated booklet that has been designed to inform and educate concerned adults about smoking. It can also tell smokers about how they can improve their own health, and preserve the health of their children, their families, as well as their communities by avoiding smoking and tobacco use. You can visit the Surgeon General’s website for more information about this booklet.

Those who need more encouragement to quit can also check out Tips From Former Smokers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can also watch TV ads from the Tips campaigns so that you will get a closer look at the real people behind them. Check out their videos so you will understand how smoking has affected their lives.