The Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health

Woman Breaking a CigaretteThere are many reasons smoking is bad for your health. While smoking leaves you vulnerable to cancer and cardiovascular disease, among other conditions, it also affects your oral health. Smoking can actually lead to a number of oral diseases. In fact, a recent study links smoking with an increase in the harmful bacteria that lead to some of these diseases.

Out with the Good, in with the Bad

While dentists often warn against harmful bacteria that cause cavities and dental disease, your mouth is actually home to numerous healthy bacteria that help keep your mouth clean. Smoking, however, reduces the number of healthy pathogens in your mouth, encouraging the infiltration of harmful bacteria. It also encourages higher levels of cytokines, because the body sees these harmful bacteria as a threat, which leads to gingivitis and periodontitis. Even worse, the cytokines found in the mouths of smokers not only fight bad bacteria, but they also battle the good bacteria necessary to keep your mouth healthy.

Risks to Your Oral Health

Smoking can lead to a number of oral health issues including the following:

  • Bad breath
  • The discoloration of teeth
  • Inflammation of the mouth
  • The increase of plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth
  • Gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss
  • An increase in the risk of oral cancer
  • General complications or delayed healing after dental procedures

Here at Calcagno Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we believe it is important for smokers to understand the risks they are taking with their oral health by continuing to smoke. While we encourage everyone to attend regular checkups and cleanings, the pattern established by smoking will only continue as long as the smoker persists in his or her habits. The reduction of healthy bacteria and influx of harmful bacteria in a smoker’s mouth can return as soon as 24 hours after a dental cleaning. That is why it is essential a smoker change his or her lifestyle in order to maintain good oral health.

Schedule Your Next Appointment

If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment with our Rochester team at Calcagno Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, please call (507) 281-3659 or visit us online at