A message to young smokers

Most people who smoke began smoking as teenagers, and many teens today will have their first cigarette as kids. Unfortunately for smokers, tobacco has zero health benefits and can lead to nicotine addiction and serious disease in the long run. Tobacco can also harm more than your overall health it can damage your teeth and gums. For this reason, it is vital that as a smoker you take extra care of your oral health.

Regular dental cleaning and maintaining good oral hygiene habits will save you from big medical expenses in the future. Tobacco contributes to the damage of teeth and how they look. It can lead to oral cancer, periodontal disease, delayed healing after an oral procedure, bad breath, stained teeth and gums. The health risks related to tobacco use are serious, and negative oral side effects are chilling.

E-cigarettes and vaporizers

Most young people begin using tobacco after first trying an e-cigarette or vaporizer as a “safe” alternative to smoking cigarettes. Smoking will usually start as a social initiation as something that friends do, or as an experiment. In fact, teens that experiment with e-cigarettes are far more likely to try traditional cigarettes than those who did not try an e-cigarette.

However, no amount or medium by which tobacco is consumed is ever safe. Tobacco use in any fashion is unsafe. If you have a teenager, make sure your child does not experiment with vaporizers or e-cigarettes since they are an entry-point to normal, habitual tobacco use. To protect your teeth and gums, ensure that both you and your child have regular dental check-ups.

Chewing tobacco

Another way teens try to side-step cigarettes is with smokeless or chewing tobacco. According to The American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (AAPD), nearly 15% of high school teens use chewing tobacco. Unfortunately, smokeless tobacco can lead to periodontal disease, oral cancer, cavities, and tooth abrasion. It can cause bone degradation and increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Chewing tobacco has become more common over the past two decades. If your child uses chewing tobacco, urge them to quit for the consideration of their long-term health. Most studies find that teens that are actively discouraged from smoking, or that live in an environment where smoking is not normalized, are less likely to use tobacco as an adult. You can help your child avoid tobacco use by discussing the dangers of nicotine, and how e-cigarettes can lead to nicotine addiction and smoking traditional cigarettes.

Dr Corne Smith is experienced in dental services that help smokers keep healthy teeth and maintain oral hygiene. For dental cleaning and other oral services, contact our offices for more information on how you can keep a healthy smile.