Why Does My Dentist Want Me to Quit Smoking?

November 17, 2016

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.

Among the growing list of diseases linked to smoking, a myriad of dental health problems have been linked to smoking as well. The most obvious are bad breath and tooth discoloration. More seriously, smoking has been linked to an increased risk of gum disease, increased bone loss in the jaw, and oral cancer.

And still nearly 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes!

Today marks the American Cancer Society’s 39th Annual Great American Smokeout – a day set aside to urge people to make the pledge to quit smoking. As a group of dental professionals – we strongly encourage you to quit smoking. Why?


  • Smokers have twice the risk for gum disease as a non-smoker. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, the use of
    tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors in both the development and progression of gum disease.
  • Not only has smoking been linked to increased likelihood of gum disease, it’s also been found to make the treatment of gum disease less effective.
  • Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss.
  • Gum disease has been linked to pregnancy complications.
  • Gum disease has been linked to a number of serious health conditions including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
  • At least 75% of cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue and throat are found in tobacco users.

There is good news however. The effects of smoking begin to reverse themselves almost immediately when a smoker quits the habit.  According to the American Dental Association, even after years of tobacco use, reducing the amount you smoke or quitting completely, can greatly reduce your health risks even so far as to reducing the likelihood of gum disease to that of a person who had never smoked!

Can you imagine life without the cigarettes? Better breath, whiter teeth, healthier gums, better health…it all could be yours. Why not make today the day?

Trust us, your teeth, and your dentist, will thank you!

For resources to help you quit smoking, please visit the American Cancer Society.