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Health Information

Dental Hygiene Month (October)

October is Dental Hygiene Month. We haven’t talked about tobacco’s impact on dental health yet. So this post is dedicated to that!

Note: the first video below shows the impacts of skin grafts and surgery to treat oral cancer. If you don’t want to see those, consider skipping it.

Source: CDC’s Tips from a Former Smoker, Christine (CDC: Tips From Former Smokers – Christine B.: Oral Cancer Effects – YouTube)

Did You Know?

  • Many tobacco products, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, cause:
    • Oral cancer
    • Gum disease
    • Tooth Loss
    • Staining of the teeth/tongue
    • Increased loss of bone within the jaw
    • Increased buildup of plaque and tartar
    • Lower success of dental implants
    • Slow healing after periodontal treatment, tooth extraction, or other surgery
    • Decrease the amount of dental treatment options available
  • Those over 65 years old and who smoke are 2x more likely to have untreated tooth decay.
  • 43% of those over 65 years old and who currently smoke cigarettes have lost all of their teeth.
  • Untreated tooth decay is higher in those who smoke cigarettes (40% of those between 20-65 years of age and currently smoke have untreated tooth decay.

What About E-Cigarettes?

Like with other systems of the body, long term impacts are still be studied. Here’s some of what the current evidence suggests:

  • E-cigarettes can change the oral microbiome in ways that are different from people who smoke cigarettes and those who don’t smoke.
  • E-cigarettes can lead to gum disease. The study suggests it’s at a lower rate than cigarettes, but higher than not smoking.
  • They can cause burns in the mouth. This could be due to heat of the mouthpiece when using an e-cigarette in addition to explosions.
  • The aerosol can lead to tooth discoloration.
  • The aerosol can increase the amount of dental caries due to some of the chemicals in it.

Marijuana and Oral Health

As with e-cigarettes, marijuana’s impacts is still being studied. Most studies currently show associations at this point. These associations include:

  • Dry mouth and white patches on the tongue, gums, or inside the cheeks
    • These white patches may become oral cancer
  • Possible increased risk of caries and periodontal disease
  • Increased risk of inflammation associated with oral mucositis
  • Periodontal complications
  • Increased risk of mouth and neck cancer

Source: Tips From a Former Smoker, Brett (CDC: Tips From Former Smokers – Brett P.’s Story – YouTube)




  1. Tobacco Use (
  2. How smoking affects your oral health | Delta Dental (
  3. Effects of Smoking on Teeth and Gums | Cigna Dental Health
  4. Evidence Grows for Vaping’s Role in Gum Disease |
  5. E-cigarette temperature may affect oral health by changing properties of inhaled aerosols | American Dental Association (
  6. Cannabis and Its Impact on Oral Health | College of Dentistry | University of Illinois Chicago (
  7. Cannabis: Oral Health Effects | American Dental Association (

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