Let's face it; a smoke break wouldn't be near as effective if one couldn't smoke! But can smoking significantly affect the appearance of your teeth? The answer is absolutely. In fact, nicotine stains, according to a vast majority of dental professionals, can be one of the most difficult surface stains to remove. Removing stains cause by the nicotine in smoking can take up to twice as long to whiten or lighten. There are some cases where patients have continued to lighten their teeth, never reaching the desired shade of white. Most cigarettes (commercial, mainstream cigarettes) produce what scientists consider to be a black smoke. Black smoke penetrates through the enamel making its way into the tooth, bonding and discoloring the salt crystals that form the overall tooth.
While there is no debating the challenge of managing nicotine staining in the teeth, for those avid smokers, that know they have no plans of giving it up, there are a few things that can be done to minimize the effect of the smoking aftermath. First of all, dentists recommend that, obviously, you reduce the amount of smoking in which you engage per day. Secondly, after each smoke break you should rinse with a gentle mouthwash or even brush lightly with a non abrasive toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Brushing with pastes that are heavy with peroxide or fluoride can actually wear away the protective enamel, resulting in an undesirable shade. It is understandable that no everyone can always brush right after smoking. If this is your case, it is highly recommended that you drink a glass of water. Avoid following your smoke break with a soda, or cup or hot coffee or tea. Hot drinks alone, can increase the "set" at which stains with latch on, and coffee and tea present their own level of negative effects.
If you are a regular smoker it is also very important that you setup and keep up with regularly scheduled professional cleaning. Your dentist will also be able to provide you with additional care instruction for meaning your teeth along side your smoking habit. Some dental offices also provide clients with a graphic image of what their teeth can look like in ten or twenty years. These results have also been known to help those trying to quite, make the final decision to quit. For more information on the effects of nicotine on your teeth, including your tongue and gums, see your dental professional.