13 MAR 2024

No Smoking Day is an annual health awareness day in the UK that encourages smokers to quit. Held on the second Wednesday of March, it's a day when individuals and organisations come together to support smokers on their journey to becoming smoke-free.

The oral health connection

Smoking has a significant impact on oral health. It can increase the risk of tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss, dry mouth and, most alarmingly, mouth cancer.

The nicotine and tar in tobacco can quickly turn teeth yellow, and over time, heavy smokers may find their teeth brown from deep-set stains.

Gum disease is another serious concern. Smoking affects the oxygen in the bloodstream, hindering the healing of infected gums. This can accelerate the progression of gum disease, leading to tooth loss.

Moreover, smoking is one of the main causes of mouth cancer – a cancer which is diagnosed in around 10,000 people in the UK every year.

How to quit

Quitting smoking is challenging but not impossible.

The NHS offers a range of free tools and support to help smokers quit. These include the NHS Quit Smoking app, local Stop Smoking Services, and various nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like gums, patches, and vapes.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says: “It's essential to find the right combination of methods that work for you, and remember, it's never too late to quit.

“Speak to your doctor, pharmacist or dentist to learn more about which smoking cessation tool could be best for you.”

The benefits of quitting

The benefits of quitting smoking start almost immediately.

Within 20 minutes, your pulse rate begins to normalise. After 8 hours, oxygen levels recover, and carbon monoxide levels drop by half. In 48 hours, all carbon monoxide is flushed out, and senses of taste and smell improve.

“Quitting smoking also means fresher breath, no further cigarette-related teeth staining, and overall improved oral health,” adds Dr Carter. 

“This includes better gum health, an increased chance of keeping your teeth, as well as cutting your risk of mouth cancer.”

In addition to better oral health, the long-term benefits of quitting smoking include reduced risks of heart attacks and lung cancer.


No Smoking Day is more than just a campaign; it's a chance to turn over a new leaf.

By quitting smoking, you're not only improving your oral health but also taking a significant step towards a healthier life.

So, take advantage of the support available and make this No Smoking Day the beginning of your smoke-free journey.

Visit our https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking to find out more on what support is available. 

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