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How Smoking Affects Oral Health

By Andrew Mortensen, DDS on June 30, 2015

A middle-aged man with healthy looking teeth, smilingThe damaging affects of smoking are not isolated to the lungs. While most people are aware of the general health risks associated with smoking, many don't realize smoking is extremely damaging to oral health as well. Fortunately, much of the dental damage associated with smoking can be corrected with restorative dentistry treatments. To find out which treatments are right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Fountain Valley dentist Andrew G. Mortensen. In the meantime, read on to learn how smoking affects oral health.  

Dental Damage Caused By Smoking

Smoking is an extremely harmful habit that should be avoided. While it can take years of smoking to begin to see the damaging affects to the lungs and heart, the impact to oral health can occur quickly. Smokers are at increased risk of the following oral health problems:

  • Persistent bad breath: Smoking itself can cause bad breath. Smokers may also experience chronic bad breath as a result of the oral health problems associated with smoking, like tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Severe dental yellowing: Smoking can severely discolor the teeth because the nicotine and tar leaves deposits on the teeth.
  • Increased levels of plaque and tartar: Smoking can actually increase plaque and tartar build-up within the mouth; these are the two main causes of gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Increased risk of gum disease: Smokers are also at increased risk of gum disease due to increased plaque and tartar levels, but also because smoking loosens the soft tissue and jawbone attachment to the teeth. This allows plaque, tartar, and bacteria to spread down to the tooth roots.
  • Increased risk of tooth decay: Tooth decay is more common in smokers, largely due to the increased levels of plaque, tartar, and gum disease. 
  • Tooth loss:Smoking can lead to tooth loss for a number of reasons. Severe tooth decay, gum disease, the weakening of the soft tissue and jawbone attachment to the teeth, or even loss of jawbone, can all lead to tooth loss in smokers.
  • Jawbone loss: Smoking can cause the jawbone to lose density; as this happens, the jawbone will recede, potentially leading to tooth loss.
  • Salivary gland inflammation: The salivary glands can become inflamed as a result of smoking. This can lead to dry mouth and increased plaque and tartar build-up due to insufficient saliva production.
  • Difficulty healing after oral surgery: Smokers may find healing difficult after oral surgery. This is because smoking reduces oxygen levels in the blood. Oxygen is vital to cellular healing.
  • Leukoplakia: Leukoplakia is a condition in smokers in which white patches form within the mouth. In some cases, leukoplakia is an early sign of oral cancer.
  • Increased risk of oral cancer:Oral cancer is a major risk to smokers and can lead to death if not caught early enough.

Schedule a Consultation

Don't let smoking destroy your smile. To find out which treatments are right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Mortensen today.

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I am proud to have served patients in our community. Through continuing education and state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to offer you and your family the high level of care you're looking for. Andrew G. Mortensen, D.D.S.

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Fountain Valley Office

18837 Brookhurst St
Ste 109
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

More Info Directions (714) 964-4183