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5 Ways Smoking Hurts Your Mouth with Every Puff

Posted on 4/13/2017 by Dr. Kelsey Ullsmith
A woman smoking a cigarette.
You've heard it all before: smoking is bad for your health. You've seen the advertisements, read the warning labels on the packs and even heard it from your doctor. Smoking can cause all kinds of serious health issues, including lung cancer and heart disease.

In order to get into your body and cause all of these problems, smoke needs to pass through your mouth, over your teeth, gums and tongue. And every puff is causing harm.

Bad Breath

Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, all of which coat the surfaces of your mouth, which causes bad breath. This odor is not easily taken care of with mints, mouthwash or even brushing. Smoking also leads to bad breath by causing dry mouth. Without sufficient saliva, bacteria multiply faster than they are destroyed.

Discolored Teeth

Two chemicals in cigarettes, tar and nicotine, are responsible for causing stains on your teeth. Tar is naturally dark in color, while nicotine turns dark upon contact with oxygen. These stains penetrate deep into the enamel of your teeth and very difficult to get rid of.

Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

As a smoker, you are more likely to produce more oral bacteria. This is because smoking interferes with your salivary glands, causing dry mouth.

Since the saliva is the body's natural defense against bacteria, an insufficient flow creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria attack your gums, causing inflammation, which leads to gum disease. They can also attack your teeth, which leads to tooth decay.

Delayed Healing
Smoking lowers the amount of oxygen in your blood, and interferes with your blood flow. As a result, less oxygen gets to your gums. If you have gum disease, or have undergone a dental procedure, healing is significantly delayed. This greatly increases your risk for developing an infection.

Oral Cancer

Because the chemicals in cigarettes enter your mouth with every puff, your risk for developing oral cancer, which can affect any area inside of the mouth, is increased. In fact, about 80% of oral cancer patients are smokers. And if you drink excessively and smoke, your risks are exponentially increased.

Smoking hurts your whole body, including your mouth. Be sure to discuss your habits with your dentist, and contact our office about getting help to quit.

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