How Smoking and Vaping Affects Our Oral Health?

Posted by Gannon Lee on Mar 21 2022, 08:57 PM

Do you smoke or vape? A study conducted by CDC in 2019 states that approximately 14% of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older have the habit of smoking cigarettes. Furthermore, the study also found that more than 16 million Americans currently have a smoking-related disease.

It is known that smoking and vaping can cause numerous oral health issues. So, if you have the habit of smoking or vaping, here are a few reasons to quit the habit at the earliest. 

Tobacco and Oral Health Problems

Tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars, vaping, and pipes can lead to the development of the following dental issues:

  • Gum disease:Periodontal disease or gum disease is the severe infection of gums that results in red, swollen, and bleeding gums. The use of tobacco in any form can increase the risk of gum disease by restricting blood flow to the gums and weakening the immune system, thus affecting our body's ability to fight off infection or heal. This can lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease and untimely tooth loss. A 2017 study by Javed and colleagues (2017) found that those who inhale nicotine by any oral means like smoking or vaping had higher plaque levels and reported gum infections.
  • Tooth loss: When periodontitis develops and is left untreated, it can affect and break the underlying bone structure that supports our teeth. As a result, our teeth may loosen and lead to tooth loss. 
  • Plaque and tartar buildup:Tobacco products contain chemicals that decrease saliva flow and encourage bacteria to stick to our teeth and gums, forming plaque. If plaque is not cleaned effectively with diligent brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar and results in tooth decay.  
  • Cancer: One of the fatal side effects of tobacco use is cancer. The use of tobacco can significantly increase the risk of cancer in the lungs, lips, mouth, tonsils, throat, and esophagus. 
  • Tooth discoloration: Smoking can cause stained and discolored teeth, affecting our smile's appearance.  
  • Bad breath:Smoking results in the formation of a stale-scented film on the teeth and gums, causing "smoker's breath." Besides, when the chemical compounds in the cigarette mix with the saliva, it can also result in bad breath.
  • Darkened gums:Tobacco smoke can result in a condition called smoker's melanosis, or the darkening of the gum tissue. This condition has no peculiar treatment. However, the gums usually get back to normal within six to 36 months of quitting smoking. 

The ill effects of tobacco are well-known. Hence, if you have the habit of smoking or vaping, we recommend you to stop it as soon as possible and get dental help to treat the effects already caused by tobacco product use.

If you would need any help to quit smoking or treat its effects,  please contact us at (949) 380-0315 or schedule an appointment online for a consultation with Dr. Gannon Lee.

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