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How Smoking Affects Your Teeth

Updated: Mar 11


Smoking and Oral Cancer

Smoking and oral cancer are closely linked. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco can all increase your risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, if you smoke cigarettes or use other forms of tobacco, you are 30 times more likely to develop oral cancer.


The American Cancer Society has estimated that 90% of people with oral cancer have used tobacco in some form. They also say that smokers and tobacco users are 6 times more likely to get some form of oral cancer than non-tobacco users.

Are you really willing to take those chances?

Some people think that some forms of tobacco are safe compared to others. This is not true. All tobacco use is harmful to your health.

Pipe smokers, although they generally use tobacco less often, are more likely to get cancer of the lips. Chewing tobacco users are 4 to 6 times more likely to get some form of oral cancer. They are also at higher risk of tooth decay, due partially to the sweeteners added to tobacco.

Of course, smoking puts the lungs and throat all at risk for cancer.

Smoking And Gum Disease

Smoking is known to cause a number of oral health problems, including gum disease. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults, and smoking greatly increases the chances of gum disease. Smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco increases plaque buildup and makes it more difficult to remove with regular brushing and flossing.

Smoking And Stained Teeth/Tongue

Have you seen someone walking down a sidewalk with yellow teeth, lips, and even a yellow tongue? These are all evidence of a heavy smoker.If you are a current or former smoker, your teeth may be stained or yellowed due to tobacco. Tobacco use can cause oral cancer, gum disease, and bad breath as well. In addition, tobacco contains tar, which can stain your teeth yellow. Thankfully, a teeth whitening procedure can whiten your teeth and remove any stains caused by smoking.


Keep up with your regular dental checkups, and brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time.

How Can A Tobacco User Protect Themselves?

1. Quit.

I know you know. And I know you have probably tried. Keep trying and you can do it just like millions have before you. Just know the sooner you quit, the lower your risk for oral cancer. Research shows that after 10 years free from tobacco, the risk from periodontal disease is not much different then if you had never used tobacco!

2. Get regular checkups.

Early detection of oral cancers, teeth issues and gum disease can greatly improve the outcome. See your dentist as often as you can.

3. Keep your mouth and teeth clean.

Start with proper brushing. Good brushes, good technique, good habits, and flossing all make a difference. Heat and carcinogens from cigarettes and tobacco are very harmful to teeth and gums. Take extra care of your teeth and gums.

4. Can’t quit? Cut back.

Everyone understands how addictive tobacco is for millions of people. Talk to your dentist or doctor if you truly want to cut back or quit, and ask for help.

In the meantime, continually remind yourself what tobacco use does to your teeth!

Dr. Snyder's dental hygienist offers a comprehensive approach to preventative care. Prevention is the core of good dental and periodontal health. Some of our hygiene procedures include regular oral examinations, cleaning and fluoride treatments, ultrasonic teeth cleaning, sealants, oral cancer screenings, and periodontal scaling and root planing.


To find out more about the dental services offered by our dentist in Albuquerque NM, Dr. Snyder, call (505)-293-7611, schedule an online consultation or visit us at 4830 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, Ste. K, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.

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