Can You Whiten Smokers Teeth? How Tobacco Affects Oral Health

Over time, most smokers teeth inevitably obtain an unattractive yellowish tint. But which teeth whitening methods are safe to use on weakened teeth? Let’s discuss.

Are Teeth Whitening Products a Viable Option for Smokers Teeth?

Smoking can negatively affect our oral health in many different ways. Over time, most smokers teeth inevitably obtain an unattractive yellowish tint. But while that may be the most obvious impact smoking has on our teeth, it’s certainly not the only one. For one, it may also cause tooth sensitivity.

So what does that mean for people who want to correct the enamel discoloration brought on by excessive tobacco use? Should we use teeth whitening products on weakened teeth? What about professional whitening procedures?

If you want to know the answers to those questions, you’ve come to the right place. Together, we’re going to learn how to whiten smokers teeth without causing further damage. But before we get to that, let’s delve deeper into the consequences of smoking — particularly for our dental health.

How Smoking Nicotine Affects Our Oral Health

We all know how smoking affects our bodies — but how bad is its impact on our dental health, specifically? Well, the first thing smoking does is affect the way teeth look and the way our breath smells. So that yellow tint and funky odor is the first thing we might notice when we start smoking regularly.

Saliva Production and Bacterial Growth

Prolonged use of nicotine also lowers saliva production. Since saliva plays a crucial part in flushing away bacteria before it can gnaw through our enamel, that can have serious consequences. As the bacteria builds up on our teeth, the yellowish tint will get more opaque until it’s recognizable as plaque. That’s why dentists often advise smokers to increase their water intake or at least take to chewing (sugar-free) gum.

Without adhering to proper oral hygiene habits, the sticky film of bacteria will continue to solidify until it becomes tartar. As the bacteria eat through the enamel, they will attack the roots of our teeth and cause gum disease. Even if we manage to control the development of plaque, we can’t control other effects of tobacco.

Blood Circulation and Oral Cancer

Namely, smoking can restrict blood flow to the gums, prolonging our recovery time after dental procedures. Moreover, the lack of blood would mean that the gums and teeth are getting fewer nutrients. That would, in turn, make them more likely to bleed while we’re brushing our teeth.

Lastly, as we’re all aware, smoking can lead to different kinds of oral cancer. Unfortunately, quitting the habit can only do so much for lifelong smokers. Besides, many people simply don’t want to quit. So what should we do if we want to keep our teeth healthy — or at the very least, white?

Quote: “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” — Mark Twain

Best Teeth Whitening for Smokers: Professional and Commercial Options

When it comes to smokers teeth whitening, we have to start by considering the severity of the situation. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products might be an option if we usually take good care of our teeth and only need a little boost. However, if we’re past the point of no return, professional dental bleaching might be a more appropriate route to take.

In-office bleaching usually involves a potent peroxide solution, which is applied to the teeth. Most dentists also use light to expedite the chemical reaction necessary to lift the nicotine stain. These teeth whitening treatments usually last fifteen to thirty minutes, and their effects are instantaneous.

Conversely, commercial teeth whitening products — whether they’re strips or gels — take a little longer to kick in. Strips generally take several weeks to achieve the same results one would get from a single session with a licensed professional. The difference is in the strength of the peroxide solution used in the products.

At this point, you might be wondering which route you should take. Well, if we were to recommend a treatment plan for ridding your teeth of those yellow nicotine stains, we would say that you should start by scheduling recurring dental appointments. Tell your dentist all about your concerns when you book your first cleaning session. If the cleaning doesn’t include a whitening treatment, request it separately.

Either way, you should get your teeth professionally cleaned every six months or so. These visits also let your dentist keep track of your dental health and catch any complications early on. The whitening treatments can be more or less frequent depending on the appearance of your teeth. Lastly, you can use various at-home remedies between your appointments.

Home Remedies

People who have been smoking for a while may find it difficult to begin stripping the layers of plaque from their teeth. That’s where professional and commercial whitening methods we’ve previously mentioned come in. Of course, those who want to keep their teeth clean between dentist appointments could introduce certain home remedies into their dental hygiene routine. And the best part is that you’ll find most of the ingredients you need to make them in your pantry.

Generally, cleaning smokers teeth requires harsher chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and abrasive ingredients like baking soda and activated charcoal. Turmeric and coconut oil have also been known to improve dental discoloration. Mix whichever of those ingredients you happen to have in your house to create a homemade toothpaste, and use as you would any other.

After all, maintaining dental hygiene is the only thing you can do to stave off the worst consequences of smoking. So to wrap this up, let’s talk about some other habits that could help smokers keep their teeth healthy and white.

How to Take Care of Smokers Teeth

Ultimately, smoking can have severe consequences for our health — and that’s not just limited to our teeth. According to this article from the CDC, nicotine is harmful to nearly every organ of the body! But at this point, most smokers know all about the correlation between tobacco and various heart and lung diseases and many other medical conditions. Still, many of them aren’t able to quit the habit on a whim, as much as they might wish to.

With that in mind, the next best thing would be to stay as healthy as they can otherwise. At the very least, we can commit to getting regular testing for various smoking-related diseases. Naturally, that includes visits to your local dental clinic! A dentist should be able to keep cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease at bay.

Other than that, we can keep brushing and flossing our teeth twice a day. Smokers usually require stiffer toothbrush bristles to get the gunk off their enamel. They could even use stronger toothpaste and mouthwash formulated specifically for smokers teeth. On the other hand, if you don’t want to seek specialized products out, you could make your own toothpaste at home.

This post was last modified on February 25, 2021 4:39 PM