preventative dentistry

Alcohol and Tobacco’s Effect on Teeth

Tobacco and alcohol are two common ways for New Yorkers to de-stress, especially after a long work week. While their overall health effects are widely known, their impact to oral health is overshadowed despite being the area directly exposed to tobacco and alcohol. In this blog, we will talk about some of the short and long-term effects to your oral health.


According to the American Dental Association, smoking and tobacco cause staining of teeth, bad breath, and a diminished sense of taste. Over time, smoking begins to hinder your body’s immune system, leaving your mouth much more vulnerable to plaque buildup. Plaque develops faster and eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar becomes a serious problem because it cannot be removed by brushing and must be removed professionally by way of an oral cleaning.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious issue that can develop when your body’s immune system cannot stifle bacterial growth. Research is increasingly supporting the link between periodontal disease and diabetes and heart disease. While diabetes and heart disease are considered serious conditions, healthy gums go a long way in protecting your body as well.

Smoking is responsible for $170 billion in healthcare costs in the United States. Millions of dollars are spent in restoring decayed teeth and gum disease. By cutting back on smoking, you can save thousands of dollars on your own dental costs.


Alcohol is also a substance whose extended use is known to cause severe health effects. Its danger to your oral health can be just as severe. Mixed drinks, wine, and beer have a significant amount of sugar included in each drink. For many, the morning after means shaking off a hangover and a rough night’s sleep. In that time, plaque-forming bacteria had a head start because the simple sugars in drinks are almost immediately metabolized after consumption. The acid that is produced as a byproduct wears away at your teeth while you are asleep. When you wake up, most of the damage has already taken place. Carrying around alcohol-free mouthwash and swishing your mouth with water can help lessen the effects somewhat.