Smoking and Oral Health – animation and Qs & As



Q How can smoking affect my oral health?

A Most people are now aware that smoking is bad for our health. It can cause many different medical problems and, in some cases, fatal diseases. However, many people don’t realise the damage that smoking does to their mouth, gums and teeth.

Smoking can lead to tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss and in more severe cases mouth cancer.

Q Why are my teeth stained?

A One of the effects of smoking is staining on the teeth due to the nicotine and tar content. It can make the teeth yellow in a very short time, and heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking.

Q How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?

A Smoking can also lead to gum disease. Patients who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums fail to heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and for gum disease to progress more rapidly than in non-smokers. Gum disease still remains the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

Q How is smoking linked with cancer?

A Most people know that smoking can cause lung and throat cancer, but many people are still unaware that it is one of the main causes of mouth cancer too. Every year thousands of people die from mouth cancer brought on by smoking. (See our leaflet ‘Tell Me About Mouth Cancer’)

Q Are there special dental products I can use?

A There are special toothpastes for people who smoke. They are sometimes a little more abrasive than ordinary pastes and should be used with care. Your dentist may recommend that you use these toothpastes alternately with your usual toothpaste. As there are several toothpastes on the market which claim to whiten teeth it is important to look for those accredited by the British Dental Health Foundation. Our logo means that the claims on the packaging are scientifically proven to be correct and the product will be effective at removing staining caused by smoking.

Q What about mouthwashes?

A People who smoke may find they are more likely to have bad breath than non-smokers. Fresh breath products such as mouthwashes may help to disguise the problem in the short term, but will only mask it.

Q How often should I visit my dentist?

A It is important that you visit your dentist regularly both for a normal check up and a full mouth examination so that any other conditions can be spotted early.

You should visit your dentist at least once a year. However, this may be more often if your dentist feels it necessary. People who smoke are more likely to have stained teeth, and therefore may need appointments more often with the dental hygienist.

Q What can my dentist do for me?

A Your dentist will carry out a regular examination to make sure that your teeth and gums and whole mouth are healthy.

Your dentist will also examine your cheeks, tongue and throat for any signs of other conditions that may need more investigation.

They may also be able to put you in touch with organisations and self- help groups who will have the latest information to help you stop smoking.

Q Will I need any extra treatment?

A Your dentist may also refer you to a dental hygienist, for further treatment, thorough cleaning and to keep a closer check on your oral hygiene.

Your dental hygienist will be able to advise you on how often you should visit them, although this should usually be every three to six months.

Early detection reduces oral cancer deaths – new study


London: EXPERT studies have warned that late detection of mouth cancer is causing unnecessary deaths, backing the UK’s leading oral health charity’s Mouth Cancer Action Week 2008 campaign message.

A Journal of Prosthodontics study has called on greater emphasis on oral cancer screening. Early detection of oral cancer leads to a 95 per cent survival rate – yet currently the majority of cases are picked up late – with less than half surviving beyond five years.

The British Dental Health Foundation led the November’s Mouth Cancer Action Week with the call ‘If in doubt, get checked out.’

Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter BDS LDS (RCS) said: “The majority of oral cancers are diagnosed at a late stage – which means so many deaths are unnecessary. Mouth cancer is often painless, this hidden killer causes a death every five hours in the UK.

“The public and the profession must all work together to make sure were stay aware of the dangers. Dentists and hygienists must communicate with their patients on this issue; while it is vital people visit their dentist regularly.”

Researchers at the Journal of Prosthodontics called for greater commitment from dentists to looking for mouth cancer: “If dentists are more vigilant in performing oral cancer screening examinations on all of their patients, the quality of life and survivability from these cancers will be greatly improved, whereby morbidity and mortality will be greatly reduced.”

The study urged use of screening aids to boost detection, and showed that the need for regular screenings had risen, as attempts to educate on prevention had stalled.

Nearly 5,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year in the UK, with tobacco and alcohol related to around three quarters of all cases.

An ageing population puts more at risk in the most common over 40s age group, while increasing numbers of young are affected – a quarter of cases displaying no risk factors.

The human papilloma virus, transmitted through oral sex, has also been linked to rising numbers of mouth cancer incidences.

The Foundation’s 2008 mouth cancer survey showed one in five UK patients remain unaware of mouth cancer. Seventy per cent of patients said they had not discussed the disease with their dentist, and were not sure they had ever received oral screening.

Mouth Cancer Action Week 2008 was launched at the Houses of Parliament in November 2008, with a speech by leading expert Professor Saman Warnakulasuriya calling for government support for dentists giving oral screening.

The campaign highlighted a need for the public to self examine, looking out for ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth, and lumps, swelling or unusual changes in the mouth and neck.

Find more information at

Facts and Figures

In the UK over 4,750 are diagnosed each year.

Around 1,700 people die of mouth cancer every year.

Mouth cancer is more common in men than women, but the gap is closing

Mouth cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an
increasing number of young people are developing the condition.

Tobacco and alcohol are thought to contribute to 80 per cent of mouth cancer cases.

Smoking is the number one cause for mouth cancer. Cigarette smoke converts saliva into a deadly cell-damaging cocktail.

Switching to low-tar cigarettes will not help, as smokers of ‘lights’ tend to inhale more smoke than smokers of ‘regular’ cigarettes.

Although some people believe that chewing tobacco is safer than smoking, the reality is that it is even more dangerous. Chewing tobacco, paan, areca nut and gutkha are habits favoured by some ethnic groups.

Alcohol aids absorption of smoke into the mouth – people who smoke and drink alcohol to excess are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.

Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases. Evidence shows an increase in fruit and vegetables lowers the risk, as can fish and eggs.It is recommended that people enjoy a healthy, balanced diet, including food from each of the major food groups and including fruit and vegetables of all different colours as each colour contains different vitamins

Research now suggests the human papilloma virus (HPV) – transmitted by oral sex – could soon rival smoking and drinking as a main cause of mouth cancer.

Early detection and treatment considerably increases survival chances, allows for simpler treatment and results in a better quality of life for sufferers

The Charity

The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading oral health charity, with a 30-year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers.

National Smile Month runs each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health, with Mouth Cancer Action Week each November.

The Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial dental advice to consumers, can be contacted on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or by e- mailing

Oral hygiene goes organic, according to OralClens


Last year alone saw nearly over a third of consumers buying naturally based cosmetic and toiletry products on a regular basis. With this in mind, Oraldent, the oral care specialists, have teamed up natural health expert, Sarah Wilson and has today revealed the nation’s favourite natural ingredients.

Sales of natural cosmetic ranges and other similar products have helped the organics personal care market grow, and it is expected to reach £12 million by 2011. A Datamonitor analyst says “organics lie at the intersection of the health and ethical trends and have therefore benefited hugely from changes in consumer lifestyles in both of these areas.”

With the increase in information available to the public about chemicals and the benefits of all natural products, it is unsurprising that people are looking for healthy alternatives that will be kinder to their bodies.

Some of the leading top ten natural ingredients, noted through repeated use and occurrence in the media were revealed as:

– Coco beans for protecting, moisturising and rejuvenating

– Sesame oil for protection from bright sunlight

– Virgin olive oil for anti-ageing

– Lavender for anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory purposes

One leading ingredient found within the top ten, was oranges. Citroxx, is an anti-microbial agent extracted from the pith of oranges and has been proven to be 99.998% effective in eradicating the micro-organisms that cause plaque, known to be associated with gum disease and bad breath.

OralClens Natural, the first ever range of mouthwash and toothpaste completely free from harsh, unnecessary chemicals, is based on Citroxx and does not contain sodium lauryl sulphate or sodium benzoate, which makes it attractive to consumers who wish to purchase natural products. It is widely accepted that inadequate oral hygiene leads to the build up of plaque, which unless removed, can destroy gum tissue and eventually lead to tooth loss.

Richard Thomas, Managing Director of Oraldent, says, “As seen by consumers’ recent spending patterns, there is a very real demand for ethically conscious products. Choosing products which omit harmful chemicals such as sodium benzoate and sodium lauryl sulphate and are linked with natural ingredients with proven efficacy, allows the consumer to purchase natural healthy products. Citroxx, the unique ingredient in our range has also been found in several studies to be effective for tackling well known hospital superbugs MRSA and C-difficile. OralClens Natural provides the consumer with a healthy, natural alternative”.

Says Sarah Wilson, Natural Health Expert, “With the booming interest in natural products, it’s no surprise that consumers are also starting to question what goes into their toothpaste. The supermarket shelves are lined with brands containing abrasives, sweeteners, dyes, preservatives and the foaming agent sodium lauryl sulphate, which has recently been linked with health scares. Whitening toothpastes contain peroxide, which can increase tooth sensitivity and irritate gums, and mouthwashes have harsh chemicals that can throw out the balance of the soft tissue in the mouth. So it makes sense to swap to a ‘green’ product when it comes to dental hygiene. OralClens Natural is a pleasant tasting, safe chemical-free alternative. It has been clinically proven to help maintain healthy teeth and gums, and contains plaque-zapping citroxx, one of nature’s wonder ingredients.”

For more information please call 01480 862080 or visit

The OralClens Natural range is now available nationwide

o OralClens Natural Mouthwash, Mint – Size: 500ml; RSP: £3.99

o OralClens Natural Mouthwash, Citrus – Size: 500ml; RSP: £3.99

o OralClens Natural Toothpaste – Size: 100ml; RSP: £2.49

· Oralclens is available from Waitrose and Tesco

· Oralclens Natural Mouthwash comes in two flavours, Citrus and Mint.

· Sarah Wilson – Former Editor of Here’s Health Magazine and The Author of “Natural Health for Children”.

Toothplace – City of London


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Toothplace is a refreshing new idea. It’s the first place you can walk in and have your teeth cleaned and polished by a professional dental hygienist whenever you like. If you don’t have much time to spare, Toothplace can fit you in during your lunch break or even when you’re passing by for the convenient way to make you smile!

The Harley Implant Dental Centre, Harley Street, London

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The Harley Dental Implant Centre
111 Harley Street
London W1G 6AW
T: + 44(0)7935 2573

Drs Raj Parkash and Nigel Agger are two of the best dentists and cosmetic dentists in the business today. They work with a passion to deliver the best outcome for their patients.

What they say: “The Harley Dental Implant & Cosmetic Centre is a clinic dedicated to providing the best in dental implantology and cosmetic dentistry. We are internationally renowned for our exceptionally high standard of implant and general dentistry.

We are committed to providing the ultimate standard of quality service in restoring and maintaining your dental health in an atmosphere of professionalism and clinical confidence.

Our aim is to create results for our patients, which enhance the quality of their lives through our dedication to understanding their fundamental needs by means of precise and clear communication.

We treat the person, not just their teeth.”