It’s been found that 90% of adult smokers started smoking as teenagers. Additionally, more than 3,000 American kids under the age of 18 experiment with smoking every single day. Tobacco can lead to nicotine addiction and serious diseases, not the least of which is cancer. Tobacco can hurt more than your overall health, posing some serious risks to your teen’s dental health as well.
How Tobacco Harms Teeth
Tobacco has been shown to cause oral cancer, chronic bad breath, stained teeth, delayed healing after oral procedures, periodontal disease (an advanced form of gum disease), and the inability to smell and taste. While the adverse dental side effects are harmful, the health risks of lung and throat cancer are even more disturbing.
Vaping and E-Cigarettes
The Center for Disease Control reported in 2013 that 1.78 million middle and high school students had tried e-cigarettes, and that number has only been increasing. The reason these kids reported trying e-cigarettes was to appear cool and be socially accepted by their peers.
Teens who experiment with e-cigarettes and vaping are much more likely to begin smoking traditional cigarettes than those who abstain. However, no method of tobacco use is safe, including vaping and e-cigarettes.
Another method of tobacco use that teens have been experimenting with is chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco. This can lead to periodontal disease, dental cavities, tooth abrasions, and oral cancer. Additionally, chewing tobacco has been linked to bone degradation and pancreatic cancer.
Most studies have found that teenagers whose parents actively discourage them from smoking or who live in a tobacco-free environment are less likely to experiment with tobacco. You can help deter your children from using tobacco by discussing the dangers of nicotine and how traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes are all detrimental to oral and overall health.
If your teenager is experimenting with tobacco, it can also damage their orthodontic braces. To schedule an orthodontic consultation in Aurora, Colorado, call Garlock Orthodontics. We want to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!