Is smoking really that bad for my teeth?

Smoking isn’t just bad for your teeth—it affects the health of your entire mouth, especially your gums. Lighting up stains your teeth, causes bad breath and promotes the buildup of plaque and tartar. Cigarette smoking is also one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Worst of all, smoking has been linked to the development of periodontal disease and may lead to the loss of taste and smell. Smokers also tend to require more dental treatment due to the damage done by smoking. Complex procedures such as dental implants and oral surgeries can be less successful in smokers due to damaged gum tissue. This results in a higher cost of dental healthcare and often more frequent (and complicated) treatment.

Pipes and cigars aren’t any safer, causing similar rates of tooth and bone loss even if the smoke is not inhaled. Smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco also pose great health risks to your gums, increasing your risk for both oral cancer and cancers of the throat, esophagus and lips. Additionally, they contain a significant amount of sugar, which when pressed against your teeth for long periods of time can lead to tooth decay.

So what’s the verdict on tobacco? Seek help on how to quit using, or just don’t start.