Health Effects of Smoking Cigarettes – Facts About Gum Disease, Smoker’s Teeth, and Throat Cancers

The oral health effects of smoking cigarettes include an increased risk of periodontal disease, and mouth and throat cancers. Smoker’s teeth are the characteristic yellow teeth caused by the deposits of cigarette tar on the tooth surface. Periodontal disease is the infection of the gums and bones that support and nourish the teeth. Mouth and throat cancers include cancer of the tongue, larynx and esophagus. The smoking facts reveal that oral health is profoundly affected by smoking cigarettes.

There are several ways in which the environment of the mouth is altered by cigarette smoking leading to the dramatic changes in oral health in smokers.

Cigarette smoking changes the factors that are necessary to maintain a good healthy mouth and throat and these changes in turn create the known oral diseases caused by smoking as well as the undesirable cosmetic effects.

Deposits of cigarette tar on the tooth surface:

Over time the grooves and pits of teeth become stained from deposits of cigarette tar. This discoloration becomes permanent and is so characteristic as one of the cosmetic effects of smoking cigarettes that the condition is recognized as smoker’s teeth.

Reduction in the amount and nature of the saliva:

Good oral health is maintained by the production of proper amounts of saliva. The teeth are protected from infection by the special antibodies in saliva and its constant action of bathing and rinsing all dental surfaces.


Both these specific characteristics of saliva are diminished by smoking. Not only are the antibodies absent in the saliva of smokers but there is not as much saliva produced. This leaves your teeth and gums vulnerable to infection and since your immune system is compromised as well, when you do get infections in your mouth it can progress and become much more serious because of the reduced response of your immune system.

Smoking has been shown to be one of the main causes of gum disease. A heavy smoker is more than 6 times more likely to have periodontal disease than a nonsmoker.

Reduced nourishment to the tissues:

Nicotine is a powerful vaso-constrictor and results in decreased blood supply to all tissues. Oral health is profoundly affected by this reduced blood supply to the structures that support the teeth, like the gums and the bones. Gradually these tissues become so malnourished the tissue health cannot be maintained and teeth start to fall out.

There are more toothless grins among smokers than there are among non-smokers.

Contact with the Carcinogenic Ingredients in Cigarettes

Many of the ingredients in cigarettes are known to cause cancer. The constant contact of the oral tissues with these chemicals increases the likelihood of oral and throat cancers and the oral health risks of smoking increase with the amount smoked. The more you smoke the higher your chances of developing cancer of the tongue or one of the types of throat cancers such as cancer of the larynx (voicebox) or the esophagus.

Here are some smoking facts about oral and throat cancers:

The risk for cancer of the larynx in smokers is ten times that of non smokers. The number one risk factor for cancer of the tongue and oral cancers in people over 50 is the use of tobacco and in fact 95 per cent of oral cancers occur in people over the age of 40 75 per cent of oral cancers occur in people who use alcohol, tobacco, or both alcohol and tobacco. Of all the people who are diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer this year only about 50 per cent will still be alive 5 years from now.

Yellow teeth, toothless grins, periodontal gum disease, and mouth and throat cancers are all among the oral health effects of smoking.

It is enough to make you sick and it doesn’t look too pretty either.

Will these smoking facts make a difference, or will you continue using smoking fiction? Explore the various reasons used to justify a smoking addiction at where Beverly Hansen OMalley provides even more information about the facts on smoking diseases and health effects.


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