Smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs

The effects of smoking , alcohol and recreational drugs on the mouth include:

  • oral cancer and other mouth skin diseases
  • tooth staining
  • bad breath
  • dry mouth
  • sensitivity
  • tooth loss
  • tooth decay
  • cracked and broken teeth

What you can do to minimise damage

  • Quit smoking (Quit Victoria website), or reduce the amount of alcohol and cigarettes you smoke each day.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Limit sweet foods to meal times.
  • Choose tap water rather than sweet drinks.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after taking any sweet tasting medicine or drug replacement therapy such as methadone.
  • Chew sugar-free gum.
  • Immediately seek oral health advice if you have sores in your mouth that do not heal, or red or white patches on your lips or tongue.
  • Use Recaldent or tooth mousse to protect your teeth if recommended by your oral health professional.
  • If you vomit, rinse your mouth with water. If possible, rub some toothpaste on your teeth with a finger. Do not use a toothbrush until at least 30 minutes after vomiting.

Oral cancers

Oral cancers include cancers of the lip, tongue, gums, floor of mouth and other parts of the mouth and throat. The use of tobacco and heavy consumption of alcohol are major risk factors for oral cancers, while sun exposure is an additional risk factor for cancers of the lip. You can reduce these risks by:

Find out more about oral cancer

Healthy Choices for Healthy Mouths
Stay Well: smoking and sun