Tobacco and Your Oral Health > TRICARE Newsroom > Articles


Many scientific information proves that the consumption of tobacco products is seriously harmful to health. Nicotine products can increase your risk of throat, lung, and stomach cancer. Additionally, tobacco products can negatively impact your oral health in several ways.

“Tobacco use can lead to gum disease,” said Doug Elsesser, program analyst with the Defense Health Agency’s TRICARE dental program. “Smoking or chewing tobacco makes it harder for your body to fight infections, including in the gums.”

The more tobacco you use in any form, the greater the risk of gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And gum disease can require you to get deeper, more invasive teeth cleanings or even surgery. Gum disease bacteria can also aggravate existing chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Besides gum disease, smoking and smokeless tobacco can have several other negative effects on your oral health. According to the American Dental Association, tobacco use can also lead to:

  • Teeth staining
  • Loss of tooth enamel
  • Loss of gum tissue
  • Loss of teeth
  • Oral lesions
  • Oral cancer

Knowing these facts, you might want to quit smoking. Or you can help a friend or family member quit smoking. Keep in mind that quitting smoking can be difficult and may take several attempts. You may also need support and resources to help you quit smoking and get your health back on track.

For more information on TRICARE’s smoking cessation services, you can visit the TRICARE Smoking Cessation Program Fact Sheet. You can also view information on eligibility for covered services. These services include smoking cessation products and advice.

The Department of Defence’s tobacco education campaign, YouCanQuit2, also offers a wide range of tools to help you quit smoking.

Don’t forget to talk to your dentist if you have any concerns about your teeth or gums. And if you use tobacco products, try to quit this year.

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