5 ways that smoking affects your oral health


This month is Stoptober and many people are taking part in the 28 day challenge to quit the cigarettes.  Why not make it a permanent change as there are many health and financial benefits to be made by becoming a non smoker.

Many people aren’t aware of just how much damage smoking can do to your health and your body until it’s too late.

For those of you who are unaware of choose to ignore the signs, here are 5 ways that smoking affects your oral health:

Oral cancer

Oral cancer is on the rise in the UK, with more than 6,700 people diagnosed with the disease in 2013. Mouth Cancer has grown by a third in the last decade and remains one of very few cancers which are predicted to increase further. If you’re a smoker and a drinker, your risk are very high and, in many cases oral cancer isn’t discovered until it’s advanced and too late. So make sure that you don’t ignore that unusual lump or swelling or red and white patches in your mouth. Early detection could save your life.

Mouth cancer takes the lives of more than 2,000 people each year in the UK, which is more than testicular and cervical cancer combined. Mouth cancer also takes more lives a year than road traffic accidents

Gum disease

Smokers are likely to produce more bacterial plaque than non smokers which put their gums under attack and smokers have lower levels of oxygen in their blood, which slows down healing. This means, when your gums become infected, your body is less able to deal with it. Research has shown that gum disease progresses at a more rapid rate in non smokers than people who smoke.


You are more likely to get tooth decay because more plaque builds up in smoker’s mouths and they are more likely to have problems with their gums. Smokers are also prone to have mote cavities.

Bad breath

More than 4,000 chemicals pass through a smoker’s oral cavity every time they light up. Smoking contributes to bad breath by drying out your mouth, which can trigger gum infection and even irritate your sinuses, resulting in post-nasal drip.

Stained teeth

Just like tea and coffee, unattractive yellow stains can appear on your teeth caused from tar and nicotine. This can eventually lead to tiny cracks appearing in the tooth enamel.

For more information on how to quit smoking visit your GP, find your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service from the NHS Smoke free  website, or call the Smoke free National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044.