• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Two Mouth Diseases Smokers Should Be Aware Of

There is no doubt that smoking causes ill effects on our body. It can cause several medical illnesses and sometimes very serious fatal issues. The first areas to be affected are the mouth, gums, and teeth. It leads to tooth stain, gum disease, tooth loss, and in extreme cases mouth cancer.

How Smoking Affects My Mouth?

The nicotine and the tar in the tobacco cause stain on the teeth, leading to yellow coloration. If a person smokes continuously for years, he may have an almost brown tooth.

Effects of Smoking on the Oral Health

Smoking and oral health

Smoke contains dangerous chemicals, Credits: pixabay


The following dental conditions are seen due to smoking

  1. Staining of teeth

  2. Bad breath

  3. Brown spots in the mouth due to cigarette and pipe smoking. This condition is called smoker’s melanosis

  4. Fungal infection in the mouth called oral thrush

  5. Gum disease

  6. Tooth decay

  7. Bleeding in the gums

  8. Oral precancer and cancer

The lesions in the mouth cancer develop due to the irritants and cancer-causing compounds in the smoke.

Two Main Diseases Smokers Should be Aware of

In this article, we are discussing the two main diseases of smoking.

  1. Periodontitis (Gum disease)

  2. Oral cancer

Periodontitis

Gum disease

Smoking causes gum disease, Credits: pexels


Smokers are at a 2.5 to 3.5 times greater risk of developing gum disease. The intensity of the gum disease depends on how many cigars/cigarettes a peron consumes per day. Smokers can build a bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are affected and not healed because smoking leads to a low level of oxygen in the blood. And this gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss in adults. The severe form of gum disease is termed as gingivitis.

How Does Smoking Cause Gum Disease?

Gum disease

Bacteria causes gum disease, Credits: pexels


  1. The type of bad bacteria that causes gum disease is found more in smokers than in non-smokers.

  2. The other factors responsible for gum disease in smokers are neutrophils. Neutrophils play an important role in protecting against gum disease. Smokers have high neutrophils, but only a few neutrophils reach the gums due to the effects of nicotine. The fewer number of neutrophils in the gums fail to control the bacteria, resulting in gum disease.

  3. Gum destruction occurs at a rapid rate in smokers due to the presence of a higher number of immune response components (matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), elastase, interleukin-1, and prostanglandin-2) that are involved in inflammation and bone loss.

How to Prevent Gum Disease?

Preventing gum disease

Follow oral hygiene, Credits: pexels


  1. Follow good dental habits.

  2. Brush your teeth twice daily.

  3. It is necessary to floss often to remove plaque.

  4. Quit smoking

  5. Pay regular visits to your dentist.

Will Smokers Respond to Treatment?

Treating gum disease

Treating gum disease, Credits: pexels


  1. The other bad thing is smokers respond poorly to the treatment of gum diseases. When they stop smoking, the chance of their gums healing is quite possible.

  2. Also implant failures occur at a higher rate in smokers than in nonsmokers. This is due to the exposure of tobacco smoke to the gums around the implant.

  3. The treatment for gum disease involves the following:

o   Using a prescription medicine and a mouth rinse.

o   Surgery to remove tartar deep under the gums.

o   Surgery to treat bone loss and gum loss.

Oral Cancer

Did you Know?

Cancer cells, Credits: pixabay


  1. People have a belief that smoking affects the lungs and causes lung cancer, but quite unaware that it leads to oral cancer also.

  2. Research conducted in various populations shows that smokers have a substantially higher risk of oral cancer. Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancers than nonsmokers. The risk is high when the amount of tobacco smoke consumed is high.

  3. Passive smoking, tobacco chewing, and cigar smoking are considered risk factors for the development of oral cancer.

  4. The combined effects of smoking and alcohol increase the risk of oral cancer.

  5. A pre-cancer condition called oral leukoplakia is more common in smokers than in non-smokers. Leukoplakia is a white lesion that can develop into cancer.

How Smoking Causes Oral Cancer?

Smoking causes Oral cancer

Chemicals in tobacco, Credits: pixabay


The chemicals found in the tobacco initiate or promote cancer. These chemicals tend to induce genetic changes in cells of the mouth cavity, leading to oral cancer. The mouth cancer is exposed to a lot of carcinogenic chemicals during inhalation while smoking or via direct contact when chewing tobacco products.

Treatment of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy, Credits: pixabay


When diagnosed at an early stage, surgery will be carried out to remove tumor and cancerous lymph nodes.

In some cases, a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy will be performed.

Take-Home Message

Smoking causes deleterious effects on the body and leads to gum diseases and in extreme cases, oral cancer.

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