The effects of smoking have been the focus of health campaigns for many years now, especially concerning lung and heart problems. While the effects of tobacco on your lungs and heart may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind, the effects on your oral health are left on display each time you flash a smile. Smoking contributes towards many dental problems including, but not limited to the following:
- Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer, which can progress rapidly and can be deadly if not diagnosed and treated early.
- Smoking also increases the risk of gum disease, one of the leading causes of adult tooth decay and loss.
- Smoking tends to delay healing after oral surgery.
- Smoking damages gum tissue, causing receding gums, temperature sensitivity and eventual tooth loss.
- Smoking can cause bad breath.
- Smoking affects the senses of taste and smell.
The increasing popularity of e-cigarettes has also been a cause of concern. E-cigarettes are battery-powered electronic devices containing a cartridge with e-juice (made up of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol and liquid nicotine) and a heating element to produce vapour. Although e-cigarettes are considered a safer and less expensive alternative to smoking tobacco products, they still contain nicotine which can lead to oral diseases, as well as irritability and anxiety for those who are trying to quit smoking.
- Cause dry mouth which results in halitosis (bad breath)
- Increase chances of tooth decay
- Make you more susceptible to cavities
- Cause periodontal disease
- Cause the development of chronic coughing
- Cause inflammation of the gums and bleeding
- It is also debatable whether propylene glycol is safe for inhalation.
It is important to remember that since e-cigarettes (or vaping tobacco) are relatively new, there aren't many studies that can speak to its long-term effects on our oral health. While it is a better alternative for smokers, non-smokers who are curious about vaping should keep in mind that this recreational activity can contribute to some major health concerns and that the effects of vapor exposure aren't largely known.
Even if you're not inhaling, you're still at risk of developing many of these issues caused by the toxins in cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and cigars. The only way to protect your tooth and gums is quitting altogether.
If you have concerns about the effect of smoking on your oral health or need help quitting, please contact us for additional information.