The Effects of Tobacco Products on Oral Health

Most people are aware of the dangers tobacco products can have on your health, but many people may be unaware of the adverse effects smoking and smokeless tobacco have on teeth and gums.

Although chewing tobacco may lack the smoke that many people associate with causing lung cancer, it is still full of harmful effects, including more than 20 cancer causing agents. Smoking and using smokeless tobacco can lead to nicotine addiction as well as increase your risk of cancer and oral health problems that require extensive treatment at the dentist office.


Tobacco products contain several poisonous chemicals including tar, nicotine and hydrogen cyanide. These chemicals leave a sticky residue that deposit stains on your teeth and build up in your mouth and gums, which may lead to gum disease or oral cancer.


One of the most common problems with the use of tobacco products is staining of the teeth. Smoking also reduces the flow of saliva through your mouth, which makes teeth more vulnerable to decay. Other effects of tobacco on your oral health may include:

  • Brown stains on teeth from the nicotine and tar
  • Inflammation on the roof of the mouth
  • Restricted blood flow to the gums, which delays healing of infected gums
  • Increased risk of gum disease due to decreased absorption of vital nutrients
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Increased risk of tooth loss


Smokers are at a high risk of tooth loss. Because their body is less likely to effectively fight infections, there is a greater risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease significantly lessens the strength of the teeth, which typically leads to the loss of teeth. Periodontal disease happens when the tissue and bone surrounding the jaw bone are injured due to a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, your teeth will gradually break down and pull away from the gums, which creates pockets between the gums and teeth, eventually causing teeth to fall out.


The first and best thing to do for the future of your oral health is to quit using tobacco products. Continued smoking or using smokeless tobacco products will increase dental problems. It is essential to practice proper dental hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing. Schedule routine appointments with your dentist office for a deep cleaning and complete dental examination. There is a range of treatments your cosmetic dentist can provide that may help to give you fresh, healthy smile. Some of the treatments provided by a cosmetic dentist that will help improve the problems associated with tobacco include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Porcelain dental veneers
  • Use of dental implants

The sooner you stop using tobacco products and seek treatment through your dental office, the sooner you will have a bright and healthy smile.

If you want to learn more about how tobacco affects your teeth and gums or if you want to schedule an appointment to learn about how a cosmetic dentist can give you a whiter, brighter smile, please contact us and we will be happy to schedule a consultation.