What Happens If You Smoke While Wearing Braces?

Smoking While Wearing Braces? - CaliSmile Orthodontics

Many people are already aware that smoking poses risks to your health. They don’t realize that some of these risks are increased if you smoke while wearing braces. Doing this can damage your oral health even more than smoking without braces, resulting in harm that can take years to repair. 

How Smoking Impacts Your Health

Smoking affects all aspects of your oral health. 


One of smoking’s most troubling impacts is the way it reduces oxygen flow in your bloodstream. It is commonly known that this affects lung function, but many do not realize that this reduced oxygen flow also impacts your gums. When the gums do not have full access to the oxygen they need to function normally, it leads to redness, swelling, and even receding gums. It can eventually cause loose teeth, which is not healthy or normal in adults. 

Braces already involve a certain amount of pulling on the teeth as the doctor helps them shift into the correct position. Smoking makes this process more challenging by making the teeth either more difficult to move (in the case of redness and swelling) or too loose to move safely (in the case of receding gums or looseness). 

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Smoking staining happens when the chemicals in cigarettes damage the enamel and deposit tar and other residues in the teeth. While artificial whiteners can help, your teeth will not stay white for long until you stop smoking. 

Cigarettes’ effects go beyond your teeth’s color: They also cause increased plaque buildup and make your teeth more susceptible to cavities. 


Smokers are at greater risk of mouth sores and mouth cancer than any other segment of the population. This is because smoking causes cellular damage that can lead to cancerous spots. If they are not found and addressed early on, these cancers can become life threatening. 

People with braces are also more likely to suffer from mouth sores. Smoking hinders sore healing, leading to lingering mouth sores and an increased risk of mouth and gum infections.

Smoking’s Impact on the Health of People Who Wear Braces

When you wear braces, these risks are magnified. The brackets can trap chemicals close to your teeth, ensuring they stay in your mouth longer than if you had smoked without braces. Brushing and flossing are more difficult with braces. When you’re smoking, it’s also important to clean your teeth thoroughly. For most people with braces, this is very challenging, so the harmful effects of smoking and the difficulty of cleaning feed into each other in a vicious cycle. Both smoking and imperfect cleaning can lead to more plaque buildup and tooth decay. Even when your braces come off, smoking means there will be semi-permanent stains you cannot get off. 

Another challenge of oral hygiene while smoking and wearing braces is that smoking reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is important. Saliva washes away food particles and can make it easier for the mouth to handle food. People who wear braces already struggle with maintaining good oral health, because food bits get stuck in strange places. 

As smoking makes the gums recede, the roots become exposed to damage as well. Bacteria gets into these newly exposed places, which can lead to infection. Because smoking reduces your immune response, these infections are harder to heal from. 


All the challenges caused by smoking impact your teeth and gums even more when you have braces, and smokers have a harder time getting straight teeth as a result. 

Quitting smoking is always a good decision for your overall health, but it is even more important to do so prior to receiving orthodontic treatment. 

CaliSmile Orthodontics: Best Orthodontist in Los Angeles County

With over 17 years of experience in both cosmetic and orthodontic dentistry, Dr. Amir Dehghan is the dental professional to partner with to make a plan for your dream smile. His commitment to helping you to meet your goals is unmatched in Los Angeles County.


CaliSmile Orthodontics has two convenient and modern dental offices, located in both Encino and West Hills, California. For a comprehensive orthodontic consultation in one of our Los Angeles County dental offices, give us a call anytime at (310) 710-6527 or fill out our online appointment request form.


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