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Tobacco and Vaping

You know that smoking is bad for your health, so it should be no surprise that e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other tobacco products also can be harmful to your oral health.

Oral Health Impacts


Tobacco Stained Teeth
Smoking and tobacco products can cause bad breath and stained teeth, but that’s only the beginning. Possible oral health impacts of smoking and all tobacco products include:
  • Stained teeth and tongue
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Gum disease
  • Oral cancer
  • Slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
  • Difficulties correcting cosmetic dental problems
Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco are made from dried tobacco leaves. Other substances are added for flavor. The smoke from these products is a complex mixture of harmful chemicals produced by burning tobacco and its additives. 

According to the American Cancer Society, at least 70 of the chemicals in tobacco smoke are known to cause cancer, including nicotine, formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, and others. Some of these substances also can cause heart disease, lung disease, or other serious health problems

Vaping and E-cigarettes



The tobacco product landscape continues to evolve to include smoked, smokeless, and electronic products, such as e-cigarettes (also called vape pens)While smoking e-cigarettes may pose fewer health risks than smoking regular tobacco cigarettes—it is by no means harmless. E-cigarettes can have a significant impact on oral health. E-cigarette aerosols have similar properties to high-sucrose, gelatinous candies and acidic drinks, which increase the risk of dental cavities. Additionally, the nicotine in e-cigarettes reduces blood flow, restricting the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the soft tissues of the mouth. This can cause the gums to recede and exacerbate periodontal diseases. Reduced blood circulation also inhibits the mouth’s natural ability to fight against bacteria, which can accelerate infection, decay, and other problems.

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Smokeless Tobacco Products

Smokeless tobacco products are often marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking, or a way to help quit smoking, but all tobacco products are harmful to your oral and overall health. 

Smokeless tobacco goes by many names, such as chewing tobacco, spit, dip, chew, and snuff, but the two basic types of smokeless tobacco are:
  • Chewing tobacco: Long strands of loose leaves, plugs, or twists of tobacco
  • Snuff: Finely ground tobacco packaged in cans or pouches, in both dry and moist formats
Some of the side effects include:
  • Gum disease that can lead to tooth loss
  • Tissue and bone loss around the roots of the teeth
  • Scratching and wearing down of teeth
  • Stained and discolored teeth
  • Bad breath
Cancers linked to the use of smokeless tobacco include:
Staying away from all tobacco products is the only way to avoid increasing your risk of tobacco-related health problems. 

Help with Quitting

Once you start smoking or using tobacco products, the addictive quality of nicotine—found in traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco—can make quitting especially difficult. Talk to your dentist or doctor for resources on quitting, including:

For more inspiration to quit, check out the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Watch TV ads and get to know the real people who appear in them. You can also watch videos to hear how smoking has affected their lives.