Published on 13 May 2022
Cigarettes have a bad reputation, and rightfully so. Apart from being associated with lung disease and cancer, it harms just about every organ in our body.1 It comes as no surprise, that smoking is also a leading risk factor for dental disease.
Celebrate World No Tobacco Day on 31 May by finding out how to reverse the effects of ‘smoker’s mouth’, and share this article with a friend!
Did you know that lighting up a single cigarette exposes your mouth to more than 7,000 chemicals? People who smoke are at an increased risk of oral and dental diseases. If you smoke, look out for these oral problems commonly associated with using tobacco products.
Does saying “Cheese!” make you self-conscious? Our teeth are porous and these little holes in our enamel can easily trap tar and nicotine from cigarette smoke. Over time, this turns teeth yellow or even brown. The smoke also makes the surface of your teeth stickier, which in turn makes it easier to stain them.
Tobacco smoke lowers immunity and encourages plaque production in your mouth, giving bad oral bacteria the perfect setting to thrive. As a result, smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop gum disease.
Infected and receding gums are a progressive disease, and are exacerbated by poor blood circulation and healing caused by smoking. Visit a dentist promptly to get it treated.
Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, occurs when cigarette smoke dries out your mouth and promotes the growth of bacteria. Saliva acts like a natural mouthwash, and without it, foul-smelling bad bacteria and smoke particles can build up quickly.
Keep yourself well hydrated and brush your teeth regularly to get rid of bad breath.
If your favourite foods no longer taste as good to you and you find yourself doubling up on the salt and sugar, the culprit may just be cigarettes. Heavy smoking significantly lowers your sensitivity to taste and smell.
Apart from oral cancer, studies have also suggested an association between smoking and oral fungal disease (thrush).2 Make a trip to your doctor if you notice persistent ulcers or a creamy white coating in your mouth.
Aside from affecting your teeth and gums, smoking also darkens your lips and causes sagging and vertical wrinkles around the mouth.
The good news is that even if you’ve smoked for many years, you can still benefit from quitting and reduce your likelihood of gum disease and tooth loss. See a dentist to address any oral hygiene issues brought about by smoking, and improve your response to dental treatments when you drop the bad habit!
You can look forward to these amazing benefits when you stop lighting up:
Fresh breath - Make sure to floss and brush (even your tongue) regularly to remove all the residual chemical particles and bad bacteria in your mouth.
Lower risk of gum disease and oral cancer - By quitting smoking, you’ll significantly lower your risk of oral cancer and gum disease in the long term. Gum infections can also heal better without the constant exposure to inflammatory smoke. Don’t be alarmed if you see bleeding gums after you quit smoking - this is a sign that blood circulation is improving in your mouth. See your dentist to clean out the infected areas and practice good brushing techniques for better gum care.
Improved taste and smell - The damaged nerve endings in your mouth and nose will begin to heal and grow within just 48 hours of quitting, allowing you to better taste and enjoy your food.
Prevent brown stains on teeth - You’ll be saving your teeth from certain dental discolouration when you opt for a smoke-free lifestyle. But what can you do if regular brushing does not get rid of present nicotine stains? Read our post about how teeth whitening works or consult a dentist to decide on the best option for you.
Going smoke-free and getting regular dental check-ups is the most effective way to reduce your oral health problems. If you’re having trouble kicking the habit, consult a doctor at NTUC Health Family Medicine Clinic for medical advice and help with your nicotine cravings.
Patient Service Assistant Chan Siew Eng has built a loyal following of patients at NTUC Health Denticare for the past 25 years. Read her story.
Aggressive teeth brushing can wear down the tooth enamel and lead to receding or bleeding gums. Find out how you can brush your teeth the right way with this article!
You're being redirected to our booking page
Make an appointment by calling us or submitting an e-appointment form