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Tobacco – Bad News in Any Form

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Using tobacco is bad news in any form for dental health and will undoubtedly cause dental problems and, in the worst case, oral cancer that may be life-threatening or difficult to treat. That is without considering persistent bad breath and stained and yellowing teeth. We advise to quit smoking to prevent dental problems.

Problems caused by tobacco use include:

    • Increased plaque and tartar or calculus buildup on teeth. The more plaque and tartar on teeth, the greater the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Also, tartar looks yellow and crusty and is very unappealing.
    • Using tobacco increases bone loss in the jaw.
    • There is a higher risk of developing leukoplakia, a condition that causes white patches inside the mouth and which can be a precursor for oral cancer.
    • Smoking irritates and inflames the salivary glands in the roof of the mouth.
    • Recovery after any form of oral surgery is slower.
  • Smokers have a much higher risk of developing gum disease.

How Can Smoking Cause Gum Disease

Using tobacco products and smoking can cause gum disease because it interferes with the gum tissue, making gums more susceptible to infection. Because smoking makes it easier for plaque and calculus to build up over teeth, there is a greater risk of gums becoming infected.

Gum disease gradually destroys gum tissue and the bone around teeth, eventually causing tooth loss. Nowadays, we know gum disease is linked to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory diseases, putting your child at greater risk of developing these problems later in life.


Smoking affects the gums directly by narrowing the blood vessels, impairing blood flow to the gums. Narrowed blood vessels prevent the body from transporting essential nutrients to the gum tissues and from carrying away harmful toxins. Any wounds in the gums take longer to heal, and the gums are less able to fight any form of infection.

What about Smokeless Tobacco Products?

Any type of tobacco product is harmful, containing chemicals that increase the risk of:

  • oral cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • cancer of the throat

Using smokeless tobacco can still irritate the gum tissue, causing gum recession, so tooth roots become exposed and are more at risk of tooth decay.

Additionally, exposed tooth roots are more sensitive to hot and cold or sweet and sour foods, so eating and drinking are uncomfortable at best. Some smokeless tobacco has sugar added to help enhance its flavor, which increases the risk of tooth decay. These products can also contain grit and sand, wearing down teeth.

Nicotine Is Highly Addictive

Nicotine is found in all tobacco products and is highly addictive. Children who begin smoking at school are often unable to quit and go on to smoke during adulthood. Some teens show signs of nicotine addiction within just a few days of using these products. Younger children are more likely to become addicted more quickly.

As your child gets older, talk to them about the dangers of smoking or using tobacco products and why it’s important not to start. If you smoke, lead by example by quitting.

What to Do If Your Child Smokes?

If your child smokes or vapes or uses any form of tobacco product, try to encourage them to quit. While they try to stop, make sure they remember to brush at least twice daily using fluoride toothpaste and that they floss once-a-day. Encourage them to drink plenty of water and make sure they come and see Dr. Tracy or Dr. Igor regularly. We can discuss their oral health with them directly and talk to them about the risks of smoking. During their regular examinations at the Pediatric Dentistry Center, we can check their cheeks, tongue, and gums for any irregularities. Also, it can be worth discussing this issue with their primary healthcare provider, who may be able to offer resources to help them quit.


This page was published on Oct 7, 2020, modified on Dec 5, 2020 by Pediatric Dentistry Center

Pediatric Dentistry Center
2148 Ocean Ave, Ste 401A
Brooklyn, NY 11229

The information on this website is to provide a general pediatric dentistry information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult a best in class pediatric dentist in Brooklyn regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough dental evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local kids dentist or pediatric dentist Dr. Igor Khabensky DDS or Dr. Tracy Kim, to schedule a consultation.
Pediatric Dentistry Center Material published on the website is for general purpose only. Symptoms and conditions my sound similar but different in nature. In case of dental emergency, pain, or discomfort, we advise booking an appointment with our pediatric dentists Dr. Khabensky DDS and Dr. Kim. Useful Information
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