If you smoke, you may realize that the habit is not good for your overall health. However, cigarettes can also wreak havoc with your oral health.

Many people know that smoking can cause oral cancer, but there are additional ways that smoking affects the look and health of your mouth. Here are a few of them:

Dental Discoloration

Many smokers suffer from discolored teeth. The discoloration is due to the teeth's absorption of tobacco pigments. 

The pigments in tobacco give the substance its characteristically brown hue. As the pigments accumulate within the pores of the tooth enamel, the teeth become progressively stained. 

Dental bleaching products can be used to reduce the staining. However, people who continue to smoke quickly accumulate more tobacco pigments, resulting in the restaining of the teeth. 

Dental Infections

Smokers have a reduced ability to fight infections, including those of the mouth. As a result, smokers may suffer from more severe cases of periodontal disease. 

Gum disease, which begins as gingivitis, may progress to severe periodontal conditions that result in gum and tooth and loss. Infections form as bacteria invade the pockets or spaces that develop between the gums and the teeth. This bacteria can migrate beneath the gums, accessing the jawbone and facilitating tooth loss. 

In addition, decay, which occurs as the tooth enamel is damaged by bacterial acids, can allow bacteria to reach the pulp of a tooth. The overgrowth of bacteria that plagues the mouth of many smokers can cause the rapid progression of a tooth infection. The infection may require antibiotics and a root canal or dental extraction to treat it.


Bad breath is common among smokers. Particles from the smoke may linger in the mouth after a cigarette is smoked. Additionally, smokers sometimes suffer from a reduction in saliva production.

Dry mouth causes an increase in the number of microbes in the oral cavity. Saliva acts as a natural mouth cleaner. When there is an insufficient amount of saliva in the mouth, oral bacteria flourish. 

Bacteria are largely responsible for bad breath. Some oral bacteria release volatile sulfur compounds that cause the breath to smell stale. The offensive odor increases as the number of bacteria in the mouth increase.

Antibacterial mouth rinses can help control the number of microbes within the mouth. However, the rinses do not fully alleviate the effects of dry mouth.

To learn more about the effects of smoking on your oral health, schedule a consultation with a dentist like Mainwaring John D DDS in your local area.