Tobacco And Oral Health

Nicotine and tar are the two culprits in regard to tobacco stains on teeth. Nicotine by itself is a colorless substance, but when mixed with oxygen it turns yellow. When tobacco is inhaled or placed in the mouth, nicotine and tar settle into the oral cavity. These substances are able to leach their way into microscopic openings in our enamel, resulting in a yellow/brown discoloration of the tooth surface. Luckily, tobacco stains are extrinsic, meaning that they are on the outer layer of the tooth surface and can be removed.

The most obvious way to prevent tobacco stains from occurring is to quit smoking, or never start in the first place. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine by brushing at least twice a day, flossing each night before brushing and using antiseptic mouthwash can help to prevent heavy staining and tar build-up, but it will not completely protect your teeth from discoloration caused by tobacco use. If you are unable to brush after each tobacco exposure, rinse thoroughly with water to remove as many harmful substances from your mouth as possible. It is important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

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