Why Smokers Get Dental Stains And How They Can Whiten Their Teeth

Posted on: 18 October 2017

People who smoke often suffer from a significant amount of dental discoloration. Here are a few reasons that smokers develop dental stains and what they can do to correct the problem.

Why Does Smoking Cause Dental Stains?

Tobacco is deeply staining for multiple reasons. The deep pigments within the tobacco cause discoloration, but so does the nicotine. Brown colorants within the tar of tobacco smoke settle within the pores of the tooth enamel. Additionally, the nicotine of the tobacco takes on a yellow hue as it is exposed to the air. As a result, even people who switch from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes may incur dental staining.

Some stains on a smoker's teeth may appear more concentrated around the perimeter of the teeth. Stains that are located near the interdental spaces or between the teeth are likely due to the presence of tartar in those areas. Tartar is highly porous and can absorb cigarette based stains more readily than actual tooth material. As a result, the stains around the perimeter of a smoker's teeth may be even darker.

Additionally, smoking affects the gums. Consequently, many people who smoke suffer from gum recession. As the gums pull away from the teeth, the dental roots are exposed. The roots of a tooth, unlike the crown, are not covered by tooth enamel. The dentin, which is the layer of tooth material found beneath the enamel, is already more yellow then tooth enamel. It is also quite a bit softer and contains many pores. Thus, the dentin may readily accept tobacco stains.

What Can Smokers Do to Whiten the Teeth?

Although dental discoloration from smoking can be unsightly, it is not permanent. Still, to see an improvement in the color of the teeth, smokers must take the right measures to whiten teeth. Here are a few things they can do:

  • Stop smoking. Even if the teeth of a smoker are successfully whitened, the staining will recur with continual tobacco usage.
  • Have the teeth cleaned. A professional dental cleaning will remove the porous, stained tartar from the smoker's teeth.
  • Use over-the-counter whiteners. Over-the-counter whitening applications can help bleach away tobacco stains.
  • Have the teeth professionally whitened.The teeth can be professionally whitened by a dentist using safe products that whiten quicker and more thoroughly than over-the-counter kits.

For more information about effective ways to whiten the teeth, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.