What You Need to Know About Tobacco, E-cigarette Use and Your Oral Health

There is little doubt that tobacco products and e-cigarette use (also known as vaping) are seriously bad for you. We’ve all heard the dangers, and there are many (cancer, heart disease, breathing problems). It’s not just smoking. Using tobacco in just about any form is detrimental to your body, including your oral health.

Let’s start with the more benign and cosmetic effects of tobacco. First and foremost it causes terrible breath and stains your teeth and tongue. The thought of yellow teeth and smoky breath isn’t very attractive for you and certainly not enjoyable for anyone you need (or want) to get close to.

Tobacco in different forms (including cigars and chewing tobacco) can mix with your saliva to cause an abrasion that wears down teeth faster than in non-smokers.

E-cigarettes are no better than traditional tobacco use. New studies suggest that chemicals in e-cigarettes can cause what is known as xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to an increase in cavities, gum disease, and other health issues such as sore throat and difficulty swallowing.

Did you know?

  • The amount of nicotine in one standard JUUL cartridge is roughly equal to the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs, according to the JUUL website.
  • Vaping can be considered a gateway drug that leads individuals to try other drugs that are harmful to their health.
  • Vaping and smoking cigarettes can have permanent detrimental changes in a teen’s developing brain.

The flavoring in e-cigarette liquids is also suspected to cause a reduction in the hardness of your tooth enamel. Additionally, vaping is suspected to cause gum inflammation and cell degeneration. Not to mention the possible danger of exploding batteries, which can cause damage to your mouth and teeth.

Smoking can also reduce your sense of smell and taste, making food much less enjoyable that it could be.

Tobacco users are more prone to periodontal disease, which can cause tooth loss and sensitivity. The more you smoke the worse it can get. Tobacco users also get more tartar on their teeth and are more likely to lose more bone as gum disease progresses. Basically, smoking can make a bad situation even worse.

There is also the fact that smokers can’t heal as fast, meaning recovery will be delayed longer than in non-smokers after a tooth extraction or oral surgery. And, because of reduced blood flow, increased bacteria and inflammation, a patient who smokes might find they have fewer dental treatment options.

Of course, tobacco use is also known to increase the risk of oral cancer.

There is no real way to prevent the associated risks that come along with tobacco and e-cigarette use. Quitting is the only answer. We know it’s not easy and we want to help. Below are several resources that can help you on the road to becoming a non-smoker.

We’re saddened over the news that lung illness (linked to vaping) has taken the lives of five people. Read more here.

At Dr. Arleen Azar-Mehr’s practice, we care about your total health. Call us today at 818-886-666 to schedule an appointment where we can ascertain your oral health and help with a strategy to put you on the road to better overall health.