Although most anti-tobacco ads today warn teens against the dangers of e-cigarettes and overall smoking rates are down, it’s still important to understand the dangers of smoking. The old “Real Cost” campaign was aimed at trying to keep teens from starting smoking. It also served as a reminder of the damaging effects of smoking on your smile. If you’ve been smoking for a while, you likely already know these effects firsthand. You may even think that there’s no point in quitting smoking because the damage has already been done.

However, it’s never too late to put the damage occurring to your oral health and overall health to a halt. Make quitting smoking your New Year’s Resolution for 2021. Once you quit smoking, our Rockland County dentist can repair the damage to your teeth so that even a longtime smoker can have a beautiful, healthy smile again.

woman blowing cigarette smoke

How Smoking Affects Your Teeth and Oral Health

Smoking not only worsens sleep apnea, but it can also really make your smile unattractive and unhealthy. Remember, the teeth in your mouth are the only natural teeth you get in life. If something happens to them, you have to spend a pretty penny on dental work to fix or replace them. Here are a few ways smoking affects your tooth appearance and oral health.


One of the first effects you will notice is the staining. Staining from smoking is also worse because it is concentrated in a certain area of your teeth, which makes it stand out even more. Stains from smoking can penetrate deep in the tooth and can’t be removed with brushing alone. Most smokers have teeth that look yellow. Over time, they might even turn brown from all the chemicals.

Cavities and Gum Disease

All the chemicals in cigarettes don’t just harm the appearance of your teeth, they can also damage the health. The same chemicals that stain your teeth also affect your gums. Eventually, your gums will become inflamed. Tarter will also build up on your teeth and along the gum line which can further contribute to gum disease. As gum disease progresses, your gums will start to recede and reveal your tooth root which can cause tooth sensitivity.

Another way smoking affects your oral health is by causing dry mouth. When you don’t salivate, as usual, you don’t wash away bacteria from your mouth. This can contribute to plaque and tartar building up on your teeth which can cause cavities.

Without treatment for gum disease and cavities and quitting smoking, it can result in tooth loss.

Tooth Loss

Due to cavities and gum disease, research shows that, compared to nonsmokers of comparable age, smokers are likely to lose one to two more teeth over a 10-year period.

Fortunately, research also supports that if you stop smoking, your risks of tooth loss will go down. If you’re still smoking, quit now and you might be able to preserve your teeth!

Repairing the Damage of Smoking

If there’s already damage to your teeth, don’t let this stop you from quitting smoking. You can stop the damage from progressing and with our dentist’s help, we can repair the damage and you can regain a beautiful and healthy smile. Here are a few ways we can help repair the damage from smoking.

Removing Stains From Smoking

The good news is that a cosmetic dentist has the power to fix the damage done by smoking. Teeth whitening can be used to improve the appearance of stained teeth, but it may have limited effectiveness if you’re a long-time smoker. Instead, porcelain veneers can be used to make your smile as white as you want it.

Can I smoke with veneers or after teeth whitening?

Yes, but you should quit smoking. Otherwise, your teeth will become stained again.

Do veneers stain from smoking?

The bonding agent that bonds the veneers to your teeth can turn yellow or brown from the chemicals in cigarettes which don’t necessarily stain your veneers but can make them look yellow on their edges.

Treat Gum Disease and Remove Tooth Decay

If you have receding gums due to smoking or full-blown gum disease, we offer gum disease treatment at our dental office. This may include a scaling and root planing and gum graft if the damage is severe. Quitting smoking can sometimes reverse the damage done to your gums.

In addition to treating your gum disease, we will also give you a professional cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth and to prevent further damage from occurring. If there are any signs of tooth decay, we will also remove this and provide you with tooth-colored dental fillings to repair the damage.

Our goal is to get your teeth and gums back to a healthy state by removing all signs of infection and decay.

Replace Missing Teeth

If smoking and gum disease caused you to lose teeth, we can replace them with dental implants. Dental implants even give us the power to replace teeth lost due to smoking. You won’t have to live with gaps in your smile and instead can have a complete and beautiful smile. One reason we recommend dental implants over traditional dentures is that they replace the roots of your teeth which gives you more stability and helps retain bone. Dental implants are the closest thing to real teeth.

Quit Smoking for a Healthier and More Beautiful Smile

If you really want to undo the damage of smoking, you have to give up smoking, or else your new attractive smile may be ruined. Whitened teeth will stain quickly if you keep smoking. Even porcelain veneers, which are very resistant to staining, may be stained by cigarette smoke.

Dental implants can also be damaged by smoking. Smoking impairs your body’s ability to heal around the implant, and the same gum disease that led to your lost tooth can also lead to the loss of your implant.

If you want to learn more about fixing the damage that smoking has done to your smile, please call (845) 627-7645 for an appointment with a Rockland County cosmetic dentist at B & D Dental Excellence.