smoking teeth
19 June 2017

Diet, smoking and toothpaste

Dietary Changes:

It is important to reduce both the quantity, and in particular the frequency, of sugar and acid intake. Snacks and drinks should be free of sugars (other than natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables); sugar-containing foods should be consumed with meals and ideally followed by brushing. Since fruit juices can also cause tooth erosion in children, milk and water use should be emphasized. Wine, vinegar, lemons, dried fruit, sports drinks, sodas and many other foods can be very harmful if consumed more than 3-5 times a day

Quitting Smoking:

Smoking may play a significant role in over half the cases of chronic periodontal disease. For smokers, quitting is one of the most important steps toward regaining periodontal health.


Like non-chlorhexidine mouth rinses, there isn’t much difference between pastes in their effectiveness. The main question should be: Does it contain fluoride? Dr. Osie recommends Colgate TOTAL.


Tartar-control pastes

Tartar-control toothpastes are very popular and are billed as pastes that will reduce calculus (tartar) formation. The fact is, they will reduce calculus, but only above the gumline. Tartar-control pastes do not affect calculus formation below the gumline where gum disease starts. Therefore, they have not been proven to reduce gingivitis.

Tooth-whitening pastes

Tooth-whitening pastes in general have little lasting effect on the teeth. I have never seen anyone’s teeth get whiter using an over-the-counter tooth-whitening product. Due to the added chemicals in tartar-control and whitening pastes, some of my patients have experienced increased sensitivity in their teeth and/or gums. For this reason, I do not recommend these products to my patients.

Desensitizing toothpastes

Desensitizing toothpastes can be helpful in decreasing root sensitivity, but the relief is usually temporary. Reduce frequency of dietary acids and try Tooth Mousse instead.

The literature seems to suggest that virtually all the available products on the market are equally effective and of some but limited long term value. A useful technique is to brush with any preferred fluoride containing toothpaste then rinse thoroughly; and then apply a smidgen of desensitizing paste and apply with your finger to the sensitive area and leave there for 30 minutes before rinsing or drinking.