Smoking and tooth discolouration: findings from a national cross-sectional study

BMC Public Health. 2005 Mar 24;5:27. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-5-27.


Background: Smoking is a risk factor of a number of oral diseases; the extent to which tobacco products influence dental aesthetics has not been widely investigated. The aim of this study was to determine satisfaction with own tooth colour of smokers and non-smokers and to investigate whether smokers have higher levels of self-assessed tooth discolouration compared to non-smokers

Methods: A cross sectional national study was conducted on sample of 6,000 UK adults. A total of 3,384 adults was interviewed. Smoking behaviour was recorded together with satisfaction with own tooth colour. Prevalence of perceived discolouration was measured by asking respondents to match their own tooth colour to one of a set of seven photographs of differing severities of discolouration.

Results: Twenty eight percent of smokers reported having moderate and severe levels of tooth discolouration compared to 15% in non-smokers. As well as more often perceiving discolouration smokers were also more likely to be dissatisfied with their own tooth colour compared to non-smokers.

Conclusion: The study provides further evidence of the negative impact of tobacco smoking on dental aesthetics in the general public. The evidence provided by the study may be of value in short interventions for smoking cessation in the dental setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dentistry
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tooth Discoloration / etiology
  • Tooth Discoloration / psychology*
  • United Kingdom