Dental Health Tips For Those Who Smoke

Tobacco and Your Oral Health

Smoking is the most universal bad dental health habit!

Each day, more than 3,000 kids, over one million a year, become regular smokers. One-third of them will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases. Several factors contribute to this national health epidemic, including the roughly $5 billion tobacco companies spend each year on advertising and marketing to attract new smokers. More than 30% of our population smokes or chews. This deadly addiction kills more than 400,000 Americans each year. More than 90% of all regular smokers began using tobacco at or before age 18!

  • High School students who smoke: 39%
  • Kids who become daily smokers each year: 8,100
  • Kids alive today who will die from smoking: 35,000
  • Number of illegally sold packs of cigarettes to kids: 1.7 Million*
  • Someone dies from oral cancer every hour in the U.S.
  • The life expectancy of people who smoke is decrease by 14 years.

What are the consequences of smoking?

  • Smokers lose an average of 14 years of life due to their habit.
  • With every puff of cigarette you breath in 4,700 different chemicals.
  • Smoking turns your teeth yellow by leaving sticky tar deposits which can also cause brown stains
  • Your fingernails turn yellow
  • Bad breath
  • Second hand smoke harms those around you
  • Smoker’s palate (red inflammation of roof of the your mouth)
  • You are more likely to develop calculus, plaque that hardens on your teeth and can only be removed during a professional cleaning.
  • Tobacco may also limit blood flow to gum tissue, restricting the necessary nutrients to the bone and periodontal support of the teeth.
  • Increased risk and severity of gum recession and gum disease leading to tooth and bone loss.  Tooth loss in smokers occurs at a rate of 2.9 teeth every 10 years for men and 1.5 teeth every 10 years for women (two times the rate of tooth loss in nonsmokers). If you start smoking at age 18 and smoke a pack a day, you could lose four to five teeth by the time you are 35!
  • Smoking delays healing after any dental treatment and can lead to a condition know as dry socket after oral surgery .
  • Black hairy tongue .
  • Oral lesion.
  • Oral cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus.  Smoking causes 75 % of all oral cancer. The type of tobacco product used will dictate where the oral cancer will be located.
  • Smoking before and immediately after receiving periodontal therapy, bleaching, cosmetic dentistry, or oral surgery is not recommended.
  • Smokeless tobacco use leads to generalized early-onset periodontitis (gum disease) and an increased risk for oral cancer.
  • Loss of taste.
  • Less success with periodontal treatment and dental implants.
  • Tobacco use reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to gingival tissue.
  • There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke including: formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, ammonia, arsenic.
  • The rate of tooth loss due to smoking is about 2.9 teeth every 10 years!

What Can You Do:

  • Stop smoking and chewing.
  • Regular checkups-every 3 months by your dentist for oral cancer examination and professional cleanings.
  • Brush your teeth using an ultrasonic toothbrush 2 times a day, especially in the area where you chew, both before and after. Most importantly brush before you go to bed. (You swallow 3,000 a day while you are awake. Saliva helps neutralize the acids in your mouth. You only swallow about 30 times at night leaving your mouth dry and creating a great environment for dental decay) Brush for 2 to 5 minutes, especially being careful to thoroughly clean at the gum line. Use a timer because most people only brush 20 sec!
  • Floss daily (only 33% of people floss). Try the automatic flosser by Waterpik if you do not floss regularly.
  • Use a mouthwash that is alcohol free and has a antibacterial agent in it, like BreathRX.

Are you seriously considering quitting in the next 30 days? If you say no you are not ready to quit.

Do an oral cancer self examination by:

  • Checking for any sores on your face, neck or mouth that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Repeated bleeding in your mouth.
  • White, red or dark patches in your mouth.  Use your fingers to pull out your cheek by taking your index finger on the inside of your check and your thumb on the outside and gently squeeze and roll your check with your fingers to check for these items, do this to both checks. Look in a mirror at the roof of your mouth by tilting your head back and with your mouth open looks for discoloration or lumps.
  • Swellings, lumps or bumps on your lips, gums, or other areas in your mouth.  You can do this by pulling your lower dip down and look inside for any sores or color changes and feel for lumps, do this with your upper lip too.
  • Numbness, pain or loss of feeling in any area of your mouth.
  • Check your tongue and floor of your mouth. Pull your tongue gently out and look at each side, top and underside for color changes and feel for any lumps or swelling.

If you find anything unusual call us immediately and tell our receptionist about your findings so she can get you in quickly.


Smoking remains the most important preventable cause of cancer and heart disease in United States.

Tobacco Quitline Information

Call 1-866-632-7848 for information, support and follow-up calls as often as you need, anytime, day or night. Certified counselors will develop a personalized “Quit Plan” to help you by setting specific goals and target dates for quitting and strategies for starving off cravings. Follow up calls are offered on a regular schedule to provide ongoing support, advice and encouragement. There is no limit to the number of follow up sessions or calls for support. All information is confidential.

For more information on smoking and dental health visit the American Dental Association.

Also see: Tobacco Use and Periodontal Disease

Progression of periodontal disease Smoking can lead to periodontal disease!

Smokers are at risk for periodontal disease FOUR TIMES more than nonsmokers!

Visit to learn more.

If you have any questions please e-mail us at :

Office number: (561) 272-6664

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care. This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Drs. John P. & Theodore C. Ritota We have no outside funding. Confidentiality of data including your identity, is respected by this Web site. We undertake to honor or exceed the legal requirements of medical/health information privacy that apply in Florida.

Visit Delray Dental, Ritota & Ritota, P.A.

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