Using tobacco is bad news in any form for dental health and will undoubtedly cause dental problems and, in the worst case, oral cancer that may be life-threatening or difficult to treat. That is without considering persistent bad breath and stained and yellowing teeth. We advise to quit smoking to prevent dental problems.
Problems caused by tobacco use include:
Using tobacco products and smoking can cause gum disease because it interferes with the gum tissue, making gums more susceptible to infection. Because smoking makes it easier for plaque and calculus to build up over teeth, there is a greater risk of gums becoming infected.
Gum disease gradually destroys gum tissue and the bone around teeth, eventually causing tooth loss. Nowadays, we know gum disease is linked to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory diseases, putting your child at greater risk of developing these problems later in life.
Smoking affects the gums directly by narrowing the blood vessels, impairing blood flow to the gums. Narrowed blood vessels prevent the body from transporting essential nutrients to the gum tissues and from carrying away harmful toxins. Any wounds in the gums take longer to heal, and the gums are less able to fight any form of infection.
Any type of tobacco product is harmful, containing chemicals that increase the risk of:
Using smokeless tobacco can still irritate the gum tissue, causing gum recession, so tooth roots become exposed and are more at risk of tooth decay.
Additionally, exposed tooth roots are more sensitive to hot and cold or sweet and sour foods, so eating and drinking are uncomfortable at best. Some smokeless tobacco has sugar added to help enhance its flavor, which increases the risk of tooth decay. These products can also contain grit and sand, wearing down teeth.
Nicotine is found in all tobacco products and is highly addictive. Children who begin smoking at school are often unable to quit and go on to smoke during adulthood. Some teens show signs of nicotine addiction within just a few days of using these products. Younger children are more likely to become addicted more quickly.
As your child gets older, talk to them about the dangers of smoking or using tobacco products and why it’s important not to start. If you smoke, lead by example by quitting.
If your child smokes or vapes or uses any form of tobacco product, try to encourage them to quit. While they try to stop, make sure they remember to brush at least twice daily using fluoride toothpaste and that they floss once-a-day. Encourage them to drink plenty of water and make sure they come and see Dr. Tracy or Dr. Igor regularly. We can discuss their oral health with them directly and talk to them about the risks of smoking. During their regular examinations at the Pediatric Dentistry Center, we can check their cheeks, tongue, and gums for any irregularities. Also, it can be worth discussing this issue with their primary healthcare provider, who may be able to offer resources to help them quit.
Pediatric Dentistry Center
2148 Ocean Ave, Ste 401A
Brooklyn, NY 11229