From Stains to Illness, Cigar Smoking Poses Major Threat to Your Oral Health

Matthew Mastrorocco, DMD
ROC Dental Group

Cigars may appear sophisticated, and their smell bring back fond memories of relaxing times with family and friends, but behind this façade lies the reality of their danger to your teeth and health.

Cigar smoke is packed with tar and nicotine, which notoriously stain teeth. The chemicals attach to your enamel, leaving your teeth looking brown or yellow.

The toxic chemicals in cigar smoke irritate gum tissue, reducing blood flow and oxygen to your gyms. This can lead to periodontal disease, a dangerous gum infection that damages soft tissue and can destroy the bone supporting your teeth. When I see a smoker in my practice, they usually have periodontal disease.

Cigar smokers often have bad breath. It is caused by the smoke particles that remain in the mouth, on teeth, and in the lungs long after the cigar has been smoked. Their constant presence can lead to persistent unpleasant odor, even if you brush and use mouthwash regularly.

Perhaps the most well-known danger of smoking cigars are the cancer-causing chemicals contained in cigar smoke. Regular cigar smoking significantly increases the risk of oral cancer like mouth, throat, and esophagus cancer as well as lung cancer. It’s not just the smoke, but holding an unlit cigar in the mouth also poses the risk of cancer due to direct contact with the carcinogens in the tar and nicotine.

Cigar smokers are also at a higher risk of tooth loss. The combination of poor gum health, reduced bone support, and potential cancerous growths makes it a triple threat.

Cigar smokers can also expect slow healing from mouth injury or surgery. Smoking impairs your ability to repair soft tissue and can significantly slow the healing process. This is particularly problematic for dental procedures like extractions or implants, where quick healing is critical.

So the next time you are tempted to light that cigar, remember the dangers behind the smoke. Consider herbal cigarettes, gums, and mints as alternatives. Exercise has shown to help reduce stress and improve mood, which in turn reduces the urge to smoke. Joining a support group or seeking counseling can provide encouragement and the tools needed to quit. Sharing experiences with others who are trying to quit can help with motivation and offer new strategies for coping with cravings. I know it isn’t easy, but your teeth and health will dramatically benefit from giving up cigars.