Healthy Living > How to look after your teeth > Five ways quitting smoking can improve your oral health
|Blog Article|||||By Simplyhealth||20 October 2021|
But did you know there are some good reasons to quit smoking for your oral health too?
1. Fresher breath
One of the effects of smoking is bad breath (halitosis). It can make your mouth smell and taste bad.1 Smoke can stay on your breath a long while after your last cigarette. Smoking also increases your risk of gum disease, which is another potential cause of bad breath.
2. Reduction in nicotine related tooth staining
If you smoke, this will likely show in the colour of your teeth. Smoking can turn your teeth yellow and over many years a brown colour.2 The staining is caused by the nicotine and tar in cigarettes, but the good news is that this is reversable over time!3
3. Healthier gums
Smoking makes your gums less resistant to harmful bacteria and therefore more prone to becoming diseased. Smoking also causes gum disease to progress faster than in non-smokers and this is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.4
4. Better sense of taste and smell
Many smokers complain of a loss of taste and smell, this is because smoking can damage the nerve endings in your nose and mouth, which dulls these two senses.5
5. It reduces your risk of oral cancers
Smoking and tobacco is one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Smokers are up to ten times more likely to suffer from mouth cancer, than someone who has never smoked.6 The good news is that by giving up tobacco, many of the negative effects on the mouth, teeth and gums are reversible.7
Making the decision to stop smoking can be daunting, however it is the first big step on your journey to a healthier, smoke-free life. Support with quitting smoking is available from:
1. Quit Smoking, NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/
2. The effect that smoking has on your oral health, NHS Foundation Trust, 2017, https://www.qvh.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/The-effect-that-smoking-has-on-your-oral-health-Rvw-Feb-2020.pdf
3,4. Delivering better oral health, Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delivering-better-oral-health-an-evidence-based-toolkit-for-prevention/chapter-11-smoking-and-tobacco-use
5. Tobacco Influence on Taste and Smell, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783692/
6. Mouth cancer risk factors, https://www.dentalhealth.org/therisks
7. Tobacco, oral cancer and treatment of dependence, Warnakulasuriya, Sutherland and Scully, 2005 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15743687/
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