5 Reasons Why Smoking is Bad for Your Oral Health

Thoughts from a Sutton Coldfield Dental Practice

Having been established as a respected dentist for over ten years in Sutton Coldfield; as you would imagine, we have seen a great many dental problems as time has passed. Some of these have been caused by accidents whilst others often by poor diet and general neglect. Although accidents do happen, most other dental problems can be avoided with education and a little care.

Apart from the lack of a good cleaning regime though, one of the biggest potential causes of dental and oral health issues is smoking. Although much less popular and socially acceptable than it used to be, smoking is still the adopted habit of millions of people in the UK. Some, especially those who have smoked all of their lives, may never stop, but for those who have just started or are thinking about it, we hope that the following reasons outlined by our Family Smile Dentist below, will give pause for thought….


The most obvious and immediate effect that smoking has on a person’s teeth is staining. The tar deposits, along with a variety of chemicals in cigarettes, contribute, over a period of time, to darkening of the teeth, sometimes quite severely. Whilst stopping smoking will not reverse this process, once a patient has stopped, a tooth whitening procedure should be able to return the whiteness to its former glory, or, if very severely stained, dental veneers may provide a better option.

Gum Disease

More serious than stained teeth, gum disease can potentially lead to the loss of teeth if not treated early enough. Although largely caused by incorrect or insufficient cleaning of the teeth, the presence of cigarette smoke provides an excellent environment in which the bacteria can breed. This is especially so as smoking can cause a dry mouth, particularly during sleep, and without the saliva to wash away most of the bacteria, significant deposits can build up over a short period of time.


Smoking slows down the healing process. If you cut your gums on a sharp piece of food by accident, generally this will heal fairly quickly of its own accord (unless it is a serious cut in which case medical help may be needed).  Because the nicotine in cigarettes causes a narrowing of the blood vessels in the mouth and around the teeth, insufficient blood can flow to the area to repair any damage that has occurred.

This is a major problem when, for example, the patient has had a dental implant placed and can, if the patient continues to smoke, even cause the loss of the dental implant. At our dental practice, patients are instructed to stop smoking at least for a period of time both prior and after having a dental implant placed to ensure that the implant survives and continues to thrive during its lifetime.

Thinning Bone Structure

Smoking is also known to cause a thinning of the bone over the years. This can have an impact on the jawbone too and can result in problems in having dental implants placed as well as changing the shape of a persons face and, if wearing them, can cause their dentures to become uncomfortable and ill fitting.

Oral Cancers

With research showing that around 2000 people die each year from oral cancer and a great many more having to receive treatment for it, oral cancer is a major problem but one that can largely be avoided. Smoking is probably the biggest factor here and by stopping smoking you instantly reduce the risk of oral cancers.

Keeping up your appointments at Arthur House Dental Care too is important as we are able to detect early possible signs of oral cancer and refer you to your GP for it to be checked out. Please note that if we do suggest you visit your GP, this does not mean that you have oral cancer. We are not cancer experts but given our position of closely inspecting your mouth, we are able to spot signs of what MIGHT be cancers. Only your GP and medical experts can diagnose this; we simply work on the basis of ‘better safe than sorry’.