Your teeth, just like your skin, have pores. Albeit microscopic, these pores absorb stains from the food and beverages you consume. These pores also get a hold of the nicotine in your cigarette when you smoke.
While nicotine itself is colourless, it turns yellow when combined with oxygen. That’s why when you smoke, you see yellow discolouration on your teeth over time. It might even become brown the longer you keep smoking. By then, brushing and flossing will never be enough to remove the smoke stains in your teeth.
Does Smoking Permanently Stain One’s Teeth?
Fortunately, these teeth stains are not permanent and can be removed. Your teeth whitening options include at-home treatments, and professional teeth whitening at the dental office.
Your teeth, however, will have a lifelong battle with discolouration the more you keep on smoking.
Discolouration and Other Oral Damage by Nicotine
When you smoke, the nicotine reduces blood flow, which in turn affects your teeth and gums. Without enough blood flowing through your veins, your gums don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients that they need to stay healthy. Other effects of nicotine on your gums and mouth include:
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Gum diseases such as sores and gingivitis
- Receding gums
- Mouth cancer
- Whitening of the soft tissue in the mouth (smoker’s keratosis)
- Decreased and reduced sense of taste and smell
- Damage to enamel
- Bad taste in the mouth and bad breath (halitosis)
- Premature aging around the mouth and face
Removing Tobacco Stains
Fixating on those tobacco stains? The good news is that they can be removed. Your chosen method of stain removal depends on the severity of stains, your budget, and the frequency of treatment. Having existing dental applications such as braces, trays, veneers, or crowns will also affect how effective these methods are.
Here are some doable stain removal tips for your increasingly discolouring teeth due to smoking:
- DIY Remedies – If you are on a tight budget or believe that there is just a little discolouration in your teeth, you can try these do-it-yourself remedies at home:
- Use natural teeth whiteners, such as:
- Strawberry has malic acid and ascorbic acid, both of which lighten stains. Mash 1 strawberry and 1 teaspoon of baking soda, apply the mixture on your teeth, leave it on for a few minutes, rinse it off and then do another round of brushing with just your toothpaste.
- Guava leaf paste contains flavonoids and phenols that remove the oxidative stress caused by different microorganisms which cause teeth stains. To make the paste, crush 1 to 2 guava leaves until they form a coarse paste. Rub this on your teeth and leave it on for a couple of minutes, rinse it off and then do another round of brushing with just your toothpaste.
- Orange peel scrub has acidic content that whitens teeth and also acts as an antimicrobial agent. Rub the inside of the orange peel on your teeth for a minute or two, rinse it off and then do another round of brushing with just your toothpaste.
- Apple cider vinegar infused with lemon is another natural DIY remedy known to whiten your teeth. Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and ¼ lemon juice, then dip your toothbrush in the mix. Make sure to rinse well afterward. Too much apple cider vinegar can still damage your tooth enamel, so limit this to 1 to 2 times a week.
- Brush with baking soda and peroxide. This is among the most recommended DIY remedies to remove smoking stains from teeth. Take one tablespoon of baking soda and two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and mix both of them.
- Use natural teeth whiteners, such as:
After mixing, you will end up with a paste. Use this paste to brush your teeth. To make a mouthwash with the same ratio, just add some water. Use this 2 to 3 times a week only, as excessive exposure to the chemicals in baking soda can also break down your tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity.
- Brush your teeth with mouthwash instead of toothpaste. To do this, keep the mouthwash in your mouth and then start brushing your teeth. For optimum effectiveness, use an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening
While so many over-the-counter teeth whitening products may work for some, they may not be as effective for everyone else. Make sure that before buying a kit, consult your dentist on what over-the-counter whitening product you can buy that will suit you. This is to ensure that your chosen OTC whitening treatment will not worsen any existing dental conditions, cause new ones, or interfere with your current dental treatments if you have any.
- Professional Teeth Whitening
If you have tried DIY remedies with little to no success, a visit to the dentist might be in order. This is especially true when you have been smoking for a long time.
Since smoke deeply stains your teeth, you won’t be able to keep your teeth white for a very long time by using over-the-counter products. A visit to the dentist presents you with the following teeth whitening options:
- In-office whitening procedures offer fast and effective results. While home whitening methods take weeks to work, teeth whitening procedures take only 45 minutes to an hour, and you can see the difference after just one visit to the dental office. And because teeth whitening includes the removal of teeth stains due to smoking, your teeth will look, feel, and be much healthier overall.
You can also look for dentists that offer a lifetime of teeth whitening services where once or twice per year when you come in for a check-up, you can also utilize the teeth whitening services.
- Customized at-home treatments involve your dentist supervising the bleaching procedure, which will mostly happen at home. On your visit, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and make a mouthpiece tray customized for your teeth. This allows for maximum contact between the whitening gel and our teeth.
Dentist-supervised teeth whitening products usually contain a lower strength bleaching agent but uses stronger gels so it requires lesser frequencies of gel applications, making it safer for your teeth. Your dentist will also prescribe preventative treatments for enamel strengthening before whitening.
What If I Want to Continue Smoking?
We already know the negative effects of smoking, but it still remains a lifestyle choice. While smokers generally will struggle more to keep their teeth white, you can still maintain good oral hygiene so your teeth won’t have to face any more problems besides the nicotine that seeps through when you smoke. Here’s how you can take care of your teeth even if you don’t want to quit (yet):
- Brush and floss after smoking. If you’re going to continue smoking, you will need to be proactive in keeping your teeth white, which includes brushing and flossing after smoking. This is to quickly remove tar and chemicals that can become embedded into the enamel, causing stains.
- Use anti-tar mouthwash, which is made especially for smokers. Use it regularly along with whitening toothpaste to sustain lighter teeth.
- Change your diet. Eat apples, carrots, and celery as they act as organic stain removers. They are also rich in vitamin C, which helps prevent periodontal disease. You can also increase your intake of citrus fruits like oranges and pineapples. They contribute to generating additional saliva that helps wash the teeth and also whiten them.
Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese reduce periodontal diseases, preserve and improve teeth enamel. They nourish not just your teeth, but also your jaw and the base structure for your teeth.
- Regular dental checkup makes it possible to get rid of long-term stains. You can undergo dental cleanings along with professional bleaching to get rid of teeth stains.
Will My Teeth Whiten After I Quit Smoking?
If you’re wondering, “Will my teeth stains go away after quitting smoking?”, the answer is yes. Even if you’ve smoked for a long time, quitting the habit can greatly improve your oral health. If you quit smoking, your lungs and immune system will also thank you for it by staying healthy and functional for a longer time.
You can follow these practical ways to quit smoking:
- Avoid people and locations where you know you’re tempted to smoke.
- Keep yourself busy. Staying busy and distracted can also help manage your cravings.
- Use a nicotine patch or chewing nicotine gum to reduce cravings, and make it easier to give up smoking.
- Constantly remind yourself why you’re quitting.
Commit to a Better, Brighter Smile
Start improving your dental health now! Enroll in our Lifetime Teeth Whitening Program which includes regular visits and custom-whitening trays. Dr. Urszula Barrios and her team of dental assistants and hygienists will be with you every step of the way. Call the office at (519) 767 6453 to set up your first appointment.