Smoking and Oral Health

At Stamm Dental Wellness it is our mission to educate and support our patients and community to achieve their highest possible health potential. The daily habits we choose to engage in impact our health today and in our future. We want you to understand the impact smoking has on your oral health and support you in the decision to quit in whatever way we can. We understand it isn’t easy, but we have seen first hand the amazing impact stopping smoking has on your overall health and smile.

Smoking is a habit that negatively impacts our health and can lead to an earlier death; however, many don’t think about the impact it has on their mouth and the appearance of their smile.  There are many concerns smoking contributes to in your mouth (including creating bad breath), but these were the  top 3 reasons to call it quits for your health, mouth and smile.

  1. Oral Cancer:  Oral cancer is painful, scary and kills hundreds of thousands of people each year. According to the IDPH, about 90 percent of people with oral cancer use tobacco. The risk of developing these cancers increases with the amount smoked or chewed and the duration of the habit. Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these cancers.
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  2.   Yellow Stained Teeth: Our teeth are porous and can absorb and stain due to the things we eat, drink and smoke. Nicotine and tar in the tobacco can build up on your teeth and begin to cause yellowing in a very short time. If you are a heavy smoker, teeth can actual begin to look brown. This staining does not go away after quitting, so whitening products or cosmetic dentistry would need to be done to improve your smile.

3. Gum Disease and Bone Loss: Smoking impacts your body’s ability to heal and fight infection of all kinds. It can also increase the build up of  plaque on your teeth making it harder to get your teeth clean with brushing.  Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection of the gums and can affect the bone structure that supports your teeth. In severe cases, it can make your teeth fall out. Smoking is an important cause of severe gum disease in the United States.1

To Quit or Not to Quit? An Exercise in Understanding 

Smoking and Oral Health (Printable download)

Understanding one’s reasons for smoking or quitting is an important first step in making this life altering decision. Like any habit we choose to engage in, there is a short-term pay off happening or we would not do it. Each individual’s is unique. Understanding your “why” for smoking can give important insight in creating a game plan for dealing with the loss of the habit.

Some common pay offs are:

  • Smoking is a stress reliever
  • It gives me a reason to slow down and take a break
  • Helps suppress my appetite
  • Creates a specific feeling or projects a desired persona

Smoking also comes with challenges. How is it currently making life harder?

  • I am tied to an urge that makes travel, work, or interacting socially more challenging.
  • It costs lots of money
  • I have trouble breathing and exercising
  • I smell bad
  • I have bad breath

Smoking has a severe detrimental effect for long term health. Consider what goals and activities it may prevent or affect in the future. Create a list with all the reason’s you would like to live a long and healthy life. Some may include:

  • I want to be around to raise my kids and meet my grand-kids some day.
  • I want to limit the negative health impact my second-hand smoke has on loved ones.
  • I don’t want to deal with painful health challenges like cancer, gum disease, or breathing conditions.

Quitting smoking or any changing any habit is a personal decision. To truly be successful I believe you have to be ready. Stamm Dental Wellness wants to support you any way we can. We can be one of your accountability partners, asking you how you are doing in your process. Also we will continue to point out all the impacts your decision will have.

Feeling ready? For more helpful tips check out: