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The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

We are all aware of the risks and dangers of smoking but are you fully clued up about how this dangerous habit directly affects your mouth? Cigarette packets are covered in frightening images of damaged lungs and people wearing oxygen masks but there are also many other serious conditions linked to smoking that we in the dental world, are extremely concerned about.


Did you know that according to NHS figures, approximately 90% of people suffering from oral cancer have used or are currently using tobacco? People who smoke are six times more likely to develop these types of cancer than a non-smoker. Oral cancer can affect the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, throat, floor of mouth and the soft/hard palate. Oral cancer can present as an ulcer which doesn’t seem to be healing, white/red patches, lumps or numbness/tingling to name a few.


When you visit your Dentist or Hygiene Therapist, you will likely be asked about your gum health and whether you have experienced any bleeding. You may think that as you rarely have bleeding gums, your gums are in pretty good shape. Well, you could be sorely mistaken.

Did you know….

Smoking restricts the blood supply to your gums and because of this, gum disease can be masked. If the disease is left to develop unnoticed, you may suddenly find yourself with wobbly teeth and receding gums years down the line. The restriction of blood flow can also result in delayed healing after dental treatments such as extractions.

Regular visits your Hygiene Therapist will help to keep gum disease under control but ultimately, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your oral health.


As well as the harmful and deadly element to smoking, there is also the unattractive side which includes:

  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Unsightly brown staining on teeth
  • Increased plaque and calculus (tartar) build up
  • Yellow/green furry coating on the tongue along with reduced taste sensation

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