Smoking Stains Your Teeth! What You Can Do About the Discolouration?
Smoking is a habit that comes with health risks, and one often overlooked consequence is its impact on oral health. Among the many unfortunate effects, teeth discolouration is a visible reminder of how tobacco use harms our teeth. The culprits? Tar and nicotine.
These sneaky villains of teeth staining are present in tobacco smoke and infiltrate the oral cavity, leaving a sticky residue on teeth enamel. Over time, this residue builds up, forming a yellowish-brown layer that stains teeth. Nicotine, a naturally colourless substance, reacts with oxygen and turns yellow when exposed to air, adding to the staining. Additionally, the heat from the inhaled smoke can contribute to enamel erosion, making teeth more susceptible to discolouration. The discolouration process is gradual but persistent.
The best and most sustainable solution is to quit smoking altogether. While you’re working on your quitting strategy, let’s look at some tips and tricks to combat teeth discolouration if you’re a smoker.
- Pump Up Your Daily Brushing and Flossing Routine
Maintaining a rigorous oral hygiene routine is a smoker’s first line of defence against teeth discolouration. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to remove as many surface stains as possible and delay the accumulation of tar and nicotine residue. Smokers need to use a flexible toothbrush that can reach even the hidden areas of their mouth. Consider investing in an electric toothbrush to remove plaque and build-up thoroughly. Remember to replace your toothbrush regularly to maintain optimal cleaning efficiency.
- Rinse Your Mouth After Smoking
When you smoke, tar and nicotine build up on the teeth, tongue, and gums. Using a mouthwash specially formulated to address these challenges may help delay staining as it washes away lingering particles of the chemicals before they can settle on your teeth. Look for an alcohol-free mouthwash formulated especially for smokers to help reduce bacteria, neutralise odours and minimise staining. While rinsing after each cigarette may offer some benefits, it’s important to view it as just one component of a broader oral care strategy. Regular dental check-ups are a must.
- Be Discerning about Toothpaste
The market offers various toothpastes for smokers, but they’re not all manufactured equal. Research shows that toothpaste with sodium fluoride (NaF) has some benefits, but not as much as marketing would have you believe. Toothpaste with tin (Sn) and chitosan, a natural substance, showed the best results in safeguarding teeth against enamel damage associated with smoking.
- Check your Diet
Many smokers enjoy the flavours of coffee and tobacco together, but, unfortunately, it’s a discolouration combination. Certain foods and drinks stain teeth more than others, especially when combined with smoking. Coffee is on that list, as is tea, red wine, soda, soy sauce, tomato sauce, berries, and curry. These foods contain pigments that can settle into the enamel and cause staining on already yellowed teeth caused by smoking. Try opting for lighter-coloured beverages like water or green tea instead whenever possible.
- Opt for Professional Whitening
While at-home teeth whitening products can be tempting, it’s crucial to be cautious. DIY teeth whitening kits may contain aggressive bleaching agents that worsen enamel erosion in smokers. A sterling, white smile might be the short-term result, but at what cost? Since DIY home kits don’t offer the supervision of a trained professional, you run the increased risk of making mistakes or harming your teeth and gums. At The Smile Bar, we will always advise oral health over aesthetics, and we work hand-in-hand with Family Dental Care, a group of dental practices that provide quality dental services without compromise. Smokers who knock on our doors for assistance will walk out with a sterling white smile that is built on holistic oral health.
There are ways for smokers to protect their oral health and delay discolouration. However, a bright smile involves more than just surface-level solutions. A robust and continuous oral hygiene routine with tailor-made products is a good start, but the deeper challenge lies in addressing the root causes. The interplay of tar and nicotine, combined with heat from smoking, creates a vault for staining and enamel erosion. We implore you to reclaim your well-being as the cornerstone for a long-lasting smile! The Smile Bar looks forward to being your partner in oral health and a healthy, shimmering smile. Learn more about our process and book an appointment today.