Tobacco Use and Oral Health Facts

At a glance

Review facts and data about oral health and tobacco use in the United States.

Fast facts

  • Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and other forms of tobacco cause oral cancer, gum disease, and other oral health problems.1
  • Untreated cavities (tooth decay) are higher in people who smoke cigarettes. Over 40% of adults aged 20 to 64 who currently smoke cigarettes have cavities, compared to only 20% of adults who never smoked.2
  • Adults aged 65 or older who smoke cigarettes are twice as likely to have untreated cavities as those who never smoked.2
  • About 43% of adults aged 65 or older who currently smoke cigarettes have lost all of their teeth.2
  • Smoking or using smokeless tobacco increases the risk for oral cancer and other head and neck cancers.3
  • Health care providers in a variety of settings play a critical role in helping people quit using tobacco.
  1. Winn DM. Tobacco use and oral disease. J Dent Educ. 2001;65:306-312.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oral Health Surveillance Report: Trends in Dental Caries and Sealants, Tooth Retention, and Edentulism, United States, 1999–2004 to 2011–2016. US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2019.
  3. National Institutes of Health. Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2021. Accessed October 27, 2023.