Butt Out: the effects of smoking on your teeth

If you are a smoker, chances are that you are completely aware of the various detriments it can cause to your health. Between the advice of health care professionals, package warnings, and the urging of well-meaning friends and family, you are likely bombarded with reasons for NOT smoking on a daily basis. The internal damage to your body can be very extreme for long-term smokers, and there are also some pretty extreme external symptoms that can pop up as a result, altering your appearance along with your overall health. According to Statistics Canada, Quebec is among the top 5 provinces for percentage of smokers, and the Montreal Gazette has reported on the rise of smoking among Quebec teens. In case you need just a few more reasons to tip the scales from smoker to non-smoker, here are some that relate directly to your teeth and oral health:

  • bad breath
  • stained teeth
  • bone loss
  • shrinking gums
  • mouth sores
  • 4 times more likely to get oral cancer
  • decreased sense of taste and smell
  • leukoplakia (a condition where white patches can appear on the tongue and inner cheeks – usually a type of pre-cancer)
  • more hardened dental plaque than non-smokers
  • decreased blood circulation to the mouth

There is a common misconception that chewing tobacco is a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, but not only is this product just as harmful to many areas of the body (especially the mouth), but it also contains heavy amounts of sugar that can further affect your teeth. Some studies are now showing that even second-hand smoke can have negative effects on oral health. For more information on smoking and your oral health, visit The Canadian Dental Association. For help with quitting, visit The Lung Association.