How Smoking Destroys Your Oral Health

The dangers of smoking and tobacco use are no longer really debatable. Over the last few decades, numerous studies have uncovered the link between smoking and several chronic, potentially fatal health issues, including a variety of cancers. Your oral health also suffers from the habit, and not just your breath or the color of your teeth. Besides the physical effects of tobacco use (which are significant), smoking can also destroy your oral health no matter what precautions you take.

Smoking and Your Smile

Oral cancer is one of the more frequent risks of smoking, but the myriad harmful chemicals found in tobacco and tobacco smoke can also lead to more common dental health issues, like tooth decay and gum disease. Exposure to tobacco smoke can damage salivary glands, interfere with the healthy functions of oral tissue cells, inhibit tissue healing, and weaken the connective tissues between your gums and teeth. Over time, the habit of smoking increases your risks of inflammatory gum disease, permanent dental damage from tooth decay, and eventually tooth loss.

Why Smokeless Tobacco is No Better

Since no smoke is generated by smokeless tobacco, some users believe that it is a healthier option. On the contrary, the smokeless variety is just as harmful, and perhaps more so, than cigarettes. A typical can of chewing tobacco can deliver up to three times as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, in addition to dozens of known and suspected carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).

Tips to Quit Smoking

Quitting a habit can be difficult, but that’s especially true when it comes to tobacco use, considering the high concentrations of addictive elements, like nicotine. If you want to quit, but have trouble doing so, then speak with us about finding assistance with smoking cessation. You can also try a few tips to strengthen your resolve on your own, such as;

  • Set and work gradually towards a quit date. Quitting cold-turkey can prove infinitely more difficult, and may be more likely to fail in the long run.
  • Remind yourself of what you gain by quitting, and what you lose by not quitting. Your health, your presentability, your smile, and your family are great motivators to take control of your oral and overall health again.
  • Replace the habit with something healthier. When you feel the urge to smoke or chew tobacco, do something else instead, like exercising, running/jogging, or cooking a healthy meal.
  • Stop hanging out with people who refuse to quit. The more you are around it, the more difficult it will be to quit, and those who don’t want to quit may actively try to defeat your efforts.


Shawn Hofkes, DDS, is highly qualified to address complex issues, including the diagnosis and treatment of destructive gum disease. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.