The Effects of Smoking and Vaping on Oral Health

At Orchard of Smiles Orthodontics we like to educate our patients and prospective patients about oral health. We would like to increase awareness about one harmful habit: smoking. Smoking is an incredibly unhealthy habit for the entire body, and that includes teeth and gums.

Did you know that smoking doubles the risk of developing gum disease and it also makes it harder to treat it? Leaving gum disease untreated paves the way for damage to the tissue, atrophy (degeneration) of the jaw bone, and even tooth loss. What about vaping and e-cigarettes? They are not the healthy smoking alternative as frequently portrayed. The vapor contains ultra-fine toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and nicotine (which reduces blood flow, compromising gum tissue health, making gum recession and tissue death more likely). Tobacco also reduces saliva production, leading to dry mouth and the variety of dental issues associated with it, and it can even trigger bruxism.

Aproximately 85 percent of patients with oral cancers use tobacco in some form (cigarettes, chewing tobacco or snuff). Early signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • odd white patches in the mouth
  • mouth sores or pain that persists
  • swelling
  • numbness
  • trouble chewing and swallowing
  • a sensation of having something stuck in the throat
Early diagnosis for precancerous lesions and oral cancer is the key. A key figure to catching oral cancer early is your dentist! Thus, please do not forget to schedule your routine semi-annual dental check-ups semi-annually as recommended.

Heavy longtime smokers might believe that they have already done so much damage to their health that there is no point in quitting. However, quitting at any time helps improve health outlook. We believe that it is worth it, and it is never too late to quit! If you do smoke or consume tobacco, we hope that you will consider quitting as part of your new year resolutions. If you have any questions or would like to learn more please call us at 267.991.9690 or email us at

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