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  • Writer's pictureDr. Nisha Sancheti

How to avoid tobacco stains for chain smokers?

Updated: 7 days ago

Dr. Nisha Sancheti, Celebrity Dentist and Aesthetic Expert.

Tobacco stains are one of the most common problems for chainsmokers which affects teeth, fingers, clothing, and even household items. These stains can be quite stubborn and have a negative impact on one’s appearance and reduce one’s confidence. They are primarily caused by tar and nicotine which is found in cigarettes. When these substances come in direct contact with surfaces like fingers, teeth, and fabrics they leave behind a yellowish or brownish discoloration, and over time they become even harder

to remove. But before we delve into the tips to prevent tobacco stains one needs to understand why do they occur.

Nicotine, a chemical substance in tobacco, becomes brown as soon as it comes in direct contact with oxygen. However, this is not the only reason behind tobacco stains on teeth. The porous nature of the tooth enamel allows for the easy absorption of nicotine particles which causes discolourization though this is not uniform in the process of inhalation and usually is found only on edges and gum lines where it shows significant discolorization. One another way that smoking impacts a person’s oral health is through bad breath. But smoking is bad for teeth in many other ways as well which are-

  1. Gum Disease

  2. Tooth decay

  3. Delayed healing

  4. Discolourization

  5. Leukoplakia

Does smoking lead to tooth decay?

Smoking does not have any direct impact on tooth decay though it affects the mouth’s natural defence system and makes it quite hard for smokers to maintain their oral health. Nicotine also reduces the flow of saliva which leads to dry mouth. What it means is that, the saliva is not thick enough to offer the same protection to teeth as in non- smokers. Due to this reason, smokers are at a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease and should be extra careful about their oral hygiene. Exposed tooth roots in teeth damaged by smoking are at a greater risk of heightened sensitivity too.

How does smoking lead to gum disease?

Smoking weakens the immune system and reduces the body’s ability to fight infections including the one in gums. The other reason is that nicotine in tobacco causes blood vessels to constrict which limits the blood flow to the gums and this reduced circulation then impairs the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen which is required to maintain healthy gum tissue and to fight off infections. Chainsmokers also tend to have more plague and tartar buildup on their teeth which promotes the growth of bacteria and forms plague. If it is not removed on time, plague hardens into tartar which leads to gum irritation and inflammation.


Leukoplakia is a health condition which is characterized by thickened, white patches which forms on the gums, the inside of the cheeks, the bottom of the mouth and sometimes even on the tongue. These cannot be scraped off and are caused by chronic irritation such as that from tobacco use and alcohol consumption. While it is mostly painless and benign, but it is considered a precancerous lesion because some of these patches can eventually develop into oral cancer.

Some dental hygiene tips are as follows-

  1. Brush and Floss regularly- having a strict oral hygiene routine is quite important. One should brush their teeth at least twice a day using a whitening toothpaste. Flossing helps in removing plaque and tar buildup between teeth and prevents stains. Take a little bit of toothpaste and put on the floss and then use the floss between your teeth as it will then help one a lot avoiding decay between the two teeth.

  2. Use a toothpaste- Try to incorporate a toothpaste into your dental hygiene routine as it can help with surface stains and maintain oral hygiene. Using a mouthwash can also help in killing the bad bacteria in the mouth.

  3. Visit a dentist regularly- Going for professional cleanings and check ups is quite essential as dentists can provide specialized treatments like scaling or polishing to remove the stubborn stains and can prevent discoloration further.

  4. Whitening treatments- going for professional whitening treatments or using at-home kits which are recommended by your dentist can be quite useful as they can significantly reduce the tobacco stains on one’s teeth.

Some additional tips are as follows-

  1. Rinse your mouth after smoking- rinse your mouth with water after smoking to wash away tar and nicotine before they can stain your teeth.

  2. Keep yourself Hydrated- drink lots of water as it helps in keeping your mouth clean and reduces the buildup of tar and nicotine. It also makes skin healthy and reduces the appearance of stains on fingers.

  3. Quit smoking- the best way to avoid tobacco stains is to avoid smoking altogether and seek professional help, support groups, or attend cessation programs to help you quit smoking.

Even though tobacco stains are a common problem for chainsmokers they can be managed and avoided with proper care and attention. Some ways to avoid tobacco stains include maintaining good oral hygiene, cleaning clothes regularly, taking good care of one’s hands and fingers, etc. one of the best and most effective ways to eliminate tobacco stains to quit smoking altogether as it will improve not only one’s appearance but also the overall health of the individual.

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