The Effects of Smoking and Vaping On Your Oral Health

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By now, most people know that smoking is bad for your health. We won’t lecture you there. However, something that patients often don’t realize is that smoking and vaping can seriously affect your teeth. Since your mouth is point A for all cigarette damage, there are serious oral health issues that go hand and hand with inhaling nicotine. Our San Luis Obispo family dentists are here to give you the facts when it comes to these harmful habits.


As soon as you start smoking, a flow of nicotine, tar and other harmful chemicals immediately hit your teeth. These chemicals can cause everything from tooth discoloration to periodontal disease, and it doesn’t stop there. Cigarette smoke can weaken enamel, making it easy for harmful bacteria to eat away at your pearly whites. Smoking also makes it incredibly difficult for your gums to heal following a tooth extraction, leads to gum disease, and contains harmful chemicals that can play a role in oral cancer.


Vaping has been pushed as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking, but recent research hasn’t been assuring. While e-cigarettes don’t necessarily result in bad breath and tooth discoloration, the nicotine in the vapor can still pose risks. Nicotine restricts blood flow, which makes it difficult for your body to fight off bacteria in your mouth.This can lead to gum infections.

Even more frightening are the potential risks for e-cigarette burns and explosions. A recent study in the Journal for Tobacco Control  found “an estimated 2035 visits to emergency departments for e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries in the U.S. from 2015 to 2017”. These burns and busts can permanently damage your teeth, as you can see in this case covered by Forbes magazine. 

So before you pick up your vape pen or cigarette, know the risks you’re posing to your oral health. At SLO Smiles, our family dentists would be happy to answer any and all of your questions about the way this harmful habit impacts your pearly whites.

Reach out to us today at (805) 541-0550.

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New patients are always welcome at SLO Smiles. Our friendly San Luis Obispo dental team looks forward to meeting you!