Many people don’t realise the ways that smoking affects their mouths.

The most serious side-effect is cancer. Smoking causes white patches called leukoplakia. These patches can occur anywhere on the tongue, lips, cheeks or gums. 10% of leukoplakia becomes malignant. Two of the serious consequences of tumours on the mouth are
1. The high blood supply of the mouth
2. The close proximity to the brain, all the major blood vessels in the neck, numerous lymph glands under the jaw and in the neck and hormonal glands such as the thyroid. This means that cancers can spread quickly to vital important organs and glands.

A less serious but dentally important side-effect is that smoking loosens teeth by causing the bone that holds the teeth to receed much quicker than it would normally, causing people to lose their teeth years early.

You can get help on quitting smoking from the
Irish Cancer Society.