Say Goodbye to Smoker’s Teeth with These Easy Tips

Smoking is bad for your oral and overall health. Quitting the habit is best, but for a long-time smoker, it can be challenging. However, this should not stop you from minimizing the potential damage while caring for your dental health daily. We bring to you the effects of smoking on oral health and ways to take care of your teeth and gums even if you do not quit smoking completely.

How to take care of your teeth when smoking?

The best thing for your health is to quit smoking. If you can't, here are some home remedies to manage the damage:

  1. Fight bad breath. Brush twice daily for 2 minutes.
  2. Clean between teeth. Floss and clean between your teeth using interdental brushes or water flossers.
  3. Remove stains. At-home whitening toothpastes contain bleaching chemicals to remove stains. Often, mild abrasives are added to softly polish the enamel. Consult your dentist before starting this. Toothpaste with baking soda is a safe way to remove teeth stains.
  4. Use mouth rinses. You can add hydrogen peroxide mouth rinses to your daily regimen. It acts as a disinfectant. Talk to your dentist about the concentration before you start.
  5. Do self-checkups. Nothing beats self-checks. If you see and feel lumps, sores, and chronic ulcers in your mouth — don't ignore them. These can be the earliest signs of a cancerous change.
  6. Watch your diet. Avoid acidic foods, sticky sugars, and drinks with tannins (tea, coffee). Include foods good for your teeth, like fresh fruits, fiber, and dairy products.

How dentists can help

Dentists can help you deal with the damage already caused as well as the potential. They might ask for your smoking history and perform a thorough check-up before they give you a suitable treatment plan.

Professional full-arch dental scalings are a good way to start. These help remove the build-ups in your teeth and gumline and reduce bad breath. Once the plaque and calculus are removed, dentists assess the stains. They discuss the need for in-office or at-home teeth whitening, the procedures, and the pros and cons with you before you begin. If your stains are tough to remove, a professional cleaning can benefit. Your dentist will apply whitening gel to your teeth and use an ultraviolet light to activate the gel's whitening chemicals.

Dentists scan the entire mouth for diseases and abnormalities related to smoking or otherwise. Once they diagnose any changes, decay, or infections, treatment proceeds accordingly. You might need root canal therapy, teeth removal, or other invasive procedures, depending on the extent of the damage.

Don't miss your dental visits
If you're a smoker, visit your dentist regularly. Dentists can help manage and possibly reverse some of the damage caused by smoking. Catching cancer-related changes in the mouth early could significantly improve outcomes.

How does smoking affect oral health?

Smoking has numerous detrimental effects on the mouth. Many smokers are unaware of the fact that tobacco contains over 70 hazardous compounds, including cancer-promoting substances that may damage the body's systems. The effects on your oral health might not be immediate with time, you will start noticing changes in your teeth, gums, and oral mucosa. Let's explore the link between smoking and some oral diseases.

  • Teeth stains. The most notorious effect of smoking is visible as teeth stains, also known as smoker’s teeth. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes work together and turn the healthy color of your teeth into shades of yellow and brown.
  • Gum inflammations. Smoking compromises blood flow to your gums, leading to gum inflammations and swelling. Plaque and food debris begin to build up along the nooks of teeth, exaggerating the infections. Repeated gum inflammations can ultimately cause severe infections involving gums and associated teeth.
  • Bad breath. With recurring gum infections and multiple stained teeth, the mouth becomes a storehouse for microorganisms. Without proper oral hygiene, they grow, thrive, and replicate at various sites in the oral cavity. Within days, your mouth can start smelling bad.
  • Changes in lips. Smoking can produce color changes in the lips, particularly a darkening or browning impact. The compounds in tobacco smoke can limit blood flow and oxygen, causing discoloration. Chronic smokers endure dryness and chapping, which can also affect the natural color of their lips.
  • Risk of cancer. The carcinogenic chemicals in tobacco smoke damage DNA in cells, leading to cancerous growths. A smoker has a 5–10-fold increased risk of developing oral cancer than one who has never smoked.
Quit smoking
Quitting can prevent oral cancer, tooth loss, and periodontal disease. It may be difficult, but there are smoking cessation programs offering good support during the process.

Safer alternatives to smoking

Nicotine is responsible for the addiction to smoking. Researchers have developed alternatives to cigarettes and related that are teeth-friendly and without major health hazards.

Nicotine replacement treatment (NRT) includes patches, gum, lozenges, sprays, and inhalers, which deliver small, measured quantities of nicotine into your system. Gums and lozenges are for intense cravings and are short-acting. Unlike the others, patches are unique — they attach to the skin, delivering a continuous dosage of nicotine for a long time. They help lower withdrawal symptoms of nicotine while evading the bad effects. The FDA highlights that approved NRT products are a safe alternative to smoking and are designed to help people quit the habit. NRTs should be used as specified. Unsupervised use and abuse is not recommended.

Dealing with smoking-related dental issues can be a challenge. While it's best to quit the habit, there are ways to limit the damage even as you smoke. Make sure you are aware of how smoking can change your mouth and how to deal with it.

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