You’ve probably heard about how smoking affects your overall health and increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer. But did you know smoking can also greatly damage your oral health? May 31st is World No Tobacco Day, and Waco dentist Dr. Corbet Locke would like to discuss some of the ways that smoking destroys your smile.

  • Stained teeth: Tobacco and smoke form yellow and brown tar deposits on the surface of your teeth.
  • Gum disease: Tobacco irritates your gum tissue, interferes with the normal function of gum tissue, and decreases your ability to fight infection.
  • Plaque buildup: Smoke deposits cause plaque to buildup in your mouth, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
  • Bad breath: Smoke inhalation makes your breath smell.
  • Dry mouth: Smoking decreases saliva production, therefore drying out your mouth and lips. Dry conditions contribute to bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, itchiness, and cracked lips.
  • Tooth decay: Aside from plaque buildup and dry mouth, smoking causes tooth decay because it interrupts calcium absorption, thereby making your teeth and bones weaker. Some smokeless chewing tobacco products also contain added sugars.
  • Gum recession: Tobacco products affect the attachment of soft tissues to your teeth, causing your gums to recede or pull away from your teeth.
  • Oral cancer: About 90 percent of oral cancer patients use tobacco. Smoking alters the way your cells divide and contributes to lip, tongue, gum, throat, neck, and other oral cancers.
  • Mouth sores: Tobacco releases chemicals in your body that cause painful mouth sores and oral lesions, including leukoplakia.
  • Advanced aging: Smoking may cause facial wrinkles and make your voice sound raspy.
  • Loss of taste: Smoking damages your taste buds, which impairs your sense of taste and may make everything taste smoky, sour, or bitter.
  • Increased bone loss: Smokers are more likely to experience weakened bones and tooth loss.
  • Poor healing ability: Blood circulation decreases by about 70 percent during smoking, which slows a healthy healing and recovery following dental implant placement, gum treatment, extractions, and other oral procedures.

Smokers need to visit Dr. Locke more frequently for professional cleanings and checkups to prevent serious health issues. If smoking has destroyed your smile, your Waco dentist may recommend cosmetics or restorations to repair your smile. Contact our Waco dentist office at (254) 776-4888 to schedule an appointment. We welcome families from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and the surrounding Central Texas area.