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Smoking and oral health

author icon By Dr. George Ghidrai

Most people now know that smoking is bad for their health. However, they should also realise the damage that smoking does to their mouth, gums and teeth.


How will smoking affect oral health ?

Smoking can lead to a number of dental problems, some of them very serious such as oral cancer.

What can I do ?

The only effective approach is to quit smoking and tobacco products altogether. Regardless of how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health.

To stop using tobacco, your dentist or doctor may be able to help you calm nicotine cravings with medications, such as nicotine gum and patches. They may also be able to put you in touch with organizations and self- help groups who will have the latest information to help you stop smoking.

There are special toothpastes and mouthwashes for people who smoke. Your dentist may recommend that you use these toothpastes alternately with your usual toothpaste.

It is very important to visit your dentist regularly. People who smoke are more likely to have stained teeth, gum disease and other dental problems, and therefore may need appointments more often with the dentist or oral hygienist.

Your dentist will also examine your cheeks, tongue and throat for any abnormal signs that may need more investigation. He will also advise you on how often you should visit them.

Last review and update: November 2020

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