How does tobacco and nicotine usage affect your oral health?


Tobacco-filled cigarettes and high-concentration nicotine e-cigarettes have increased significantly in today’s society. The rate at which young adults are vaping is alarming. As such, it’s time to re-evaluate tobacco and nicotine usage, as they have long-lasting impacts on oral health. If you smoke, there is an increased likelihood of developing gum disease, tooth decay, halitosis, mouth cancer, and what’s referred to as a smoker’s keratosis (whitening of the soft tissue in the mouth). Therefore, with this increased risk of oral problems, you must visit your dentist regularly for check-ups if you are a smoker. Please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our qualified general dentistry/dentists located in Basking Ridge & Morristown, NJ, who can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

What is the effect of smoking and vaping on oral health?

As mentioned above, individuals who smoke have a higher risk of gum problems, tooth loss, complications after tooth removal, and developing mouth cancer. It may be time to consider quitting smoking to reduce the risks of developing gum disease and mouth cancer. Smokers experience slower healing from infections compared to non-smokers. Therefore, if you quit smoking, it will improve your response to specific oral treatments.

Unfortunately, one of the main ways smoking and vaping affect oral health is that it can cause gum (periodontal) disease. There are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. These oral issues arise from poor oral hygiene. Untreated gingivitis can lead to tooth loss and other severe conditions. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, an even more severe gum infection that damages the soft tissue around teeth. When periodontitis is left untreated, the structures that support your teeth to the gum can become damaged, leading to tooth loss. Preventing tooth loss is crucial because it affects eating, speech, and appearance.

Can smoking lead to mouth cancer?

Furthermore, smoking is one of the main risk factors for developing mouth cancer. Mouth cancer is most likely to occur on the side of the tongue, the floor of the mouth, and the lips of people who smoke. Early detection is critical as mouth cancer can become life-threatening and spread to other parts of your body. Essentially, the chemicals contained in tobacco and nicotine are carcinogenic, meaning they can cause genetic changes in cells of the mouth cavity, resulting in the development of oral cancer. That said, if you are a heavy smoker, you are at a ten times higher risk of oral cancer than non-smokers.

If you’re a smoker, there are steps that you can take to prevent tooth and gum problems in the future. As difficult as this may be, quitting smoking is the best way to avoid teeth and gum problems. If you’re experiencing oral issues, schedule an appointment with our adept team members from the Dental Associates of Basking Ridge. We are prepared to help you.

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