Why your dentist hates smoking

Posted by DrMendelsohn on 14 February, 2015

Plain_packaging_mouth_cancer.jpgMost of us know that smoking is bad for our health, but did you know that smoking is also a major contributor to many dental problems? The longer you smoke, and the more you smoke, the greater the risk of these diseases.

Periodontal disease

Smoking is one of the most important causes of gum (periodontal) disease. Smoking causes gum inflammation and weakening of the bones that support your teeth, leading to receding gums and loss of teeth. The good news is that giving up smoking reduces the risk of periodontitis over time. If you already have periodontitis, giving up smoking will slow the disease’s progression, and improve the effectiveness of treatment.

Mouth cancer

Almost three quarters of cancers in the mouth and throat are caused by smoking. The tongue is the most common site of oral cancer, and other cancer sites include the mouth, lips, throat, parts of the nose, and the larynx. The survival rate from oral cancer is among the lowest of the  major cancers and over 2,000 Australians die of mouth and throat cancer each year. However, quitting smoking decreases the risk - five years after you quit smoking the risks of cancers of the mouth, throat and oesophagus are halved.

Wound healing

Smoking can slow down healing after oral surgery procedures, such as having a tooth pulled out.

Stained teeth

Smoking causes stains on the teeth which can be hard to remove. It can also stain prosthetic appliances, such as dentures and plates.

Tobacco breath

Halitosis or bad breath is common in smokers.

Reduced taste


Click here for a brochure, Smoking & the health of your mouth, gums and teeth, from Quitline


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