You know smoking is bad for you in general, so it should be no surprise that all forms of tobacco are harmful to your oral health. Vaping is equally, if not more dangerous as we know very little about what goes into a vape pen. Possible oral health impacts of these habits include:
- stained teeth and tongue
- dulled sense of taste and smell
- slow healing after a tooth extraction or oral surgery
- difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
- gum disease and tooth loss
- oral cancer and death
Most smoking habits begin in the teen years and just like any other habit, it is very difficult to stop smoking once you start. The best protection against becoming a life-long smoker or tobacco user is not to start in the first place. While it may seem cool when you are hanging with your friends who are smoking, smoking is definitely not cool and the consequences are deadly.
Chewing tobacco while not affecting your lungs, is causing tiny changes in the gums, cheeks or lips – depending on where you place it. Over time, these small changes add up to become serious, and oral cancer develops. This is a devastating disease which may require large parts of your mouth and jaws to be removed in order to save your life!
Vaping is a new trend in teens which has been having deadly consequences for some only weeks after starting the habit. The chemicals and irritants in the vape products are absorbed into the blood system through the lungs and are rapidly transported to the brain. So even if our teen thinks it is “cotton candy flavor” – that flavor chemical ends up far away from your mouth! For this reason products containing nicotine are highly addictive, so even after only a few puffs you can be a nicotine addict!
There is little regulation over the content of the vaping products which are marketed as a safe alternative to tobacco. This is not true, and we have yet to find out the full impact that vaping is having on our teenagers developing lungs and brains. The lips, cheeks, throat, tongue and gums are affected by the chemicals and the heat from the vape pen, and changes to the normal tissues can be seen during a regular dental check-up.
If your are concerned that your teen may be smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco please bring it up with our Dental Team, and make sure your teen keeps up on their twice yearly dental check-ups!