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How does smoking effect my oral health?


This year’s National No Smoking Day is on Friday 17th November.

The majority of people now understand that smoking is harmful to their health. It can cause a variety of medical issues, including harmful diseases. Many people, however, are unaware of the harm that smoking does to their lips, gums, and teeth.


How prevalent is smoking in the UK?

Even though the prevalence of smoking in the UK is historically at its


lowest, currently 14.7 percent of Brits reported smoking regularly. In the UK, the


prevalence rate of current smokers is in general higher among men in comparison to


women. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK.


Every year around 76,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with


debilitating smoking-related illnesses.


Smoking increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions.


Some may be fatal, and others can cause irreversible long-term damage to your health.


You can become ill:

  • if you smoke yourself

  • if people around you smoke (passive smoking)

Smoking and tooth discolouration

The nicotine and tar in tobacco cause teeth discolouration, which is one of the side effects of smoking. It can quickly turn your teeth yellow, and heavy smokers frequently remark that their teeth are nearly brown after years of smoking.

How does smoking affect my gums and teeth?

Gum disease is also a common bi-product of smoking. Smokers have a higher risk of developing bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are harmed because smoking depletes oxygen in the bloodstream, preventing infected gums from healing. Smoking generates greater dental plaque and accelerates the progression of gum disease compared to non-smokers. In adults, gum disease is still the leading cause of tooth loss.

The link between smoking and cancer

Smoking causes lung and throat cancer, but many people are unaware that it is also one


of the primary causes of mouth cancer. Every year, thousands of individuals die from


mouth cancer induced by smoking. 1 in 55 UK males and 1 in 108 UK females will be


diagnosed with oral cancer in their lifetime. 46-88% of head and neck cancer cases in


the UK are preventable. 46% of oral cavity cancer cases in the UK are preventable.

Are there dental products available for smokers?

There are toothpastes specifically designed for smokers. They can be a little more abrasive than other toothpastes, so use caution when using them. Your dentist may advise you to use these toothpastes in addition to your regular toothpaste. There are a variety of ‘whitening’ toothpastes available. Although they have no influence on your teeth’s natural colour, they may be useful for eliminating stains and so improving their overall appearance.

Smokers are more prone than non-smokers to have bad breath. Mouthwashes and other fresh-breath items may temporarily mask the condition, but they will not heal it.

What should your dentist do for you?

Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and entire mouth on a regular basis to ensure that they are healthy.

Your dentist will also check your cheeks, tongue, and throat for any signs of any problems that need to be investigated further. Oral cancer screening is carried out at Hermitage Dental Practice during every dental health review.

Our dentists will be able to connect you with organisations and self-help groups that may provide you with the most up-to-date information to assist you in quitting smoking.

Is any extra treatment needed?

You may be recommended by your dentist to see one of our dental hygienists for additional treatment, thorough cleaning, and keeping a closer eye on the health of your mouth. Your dental hygienist will be able to tell you how often you should see them, but it is normally every three to six months depending on your oral health.

Please contact Hermitage Dental Practice on 01530 510533 to arrange your dental health review which includes oral cancer screening.

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