If you ever find yourself longing for the energy you had as a teenager, don’t forget about some of the downsides of the teen years, like pimples, curfews, and peer pressure. The pressure to fit in is real for teenagers, and bad habits often accompany peer pressure. With that in mind, it may not surprise you to learn that as many as 90% of all smokers began as a smoking teenager. More than 3,000 American children under the age of 18 experiment with smoking every day.
It’s no secret that tobacco use comes with substantial risk for health problems, including dental issues. Knowing how tobacco affects your teenager’s teeth can help you equip your child to just say no to tobacco products.
How Tobacco Can Harm Teeth
Tobacco use can lead to nicotine addiction and very serious diseases, including cancer of the mouth, throat, and lungs. In addition to your child’s overall health, tobacco use can also pose a serious risk to dental health as well. Tobacco has been shown to cause the following dental problems:
- Chronic bad breath
- Stained gums and teeth
- Delayed healing after oral procedures and surgery
- Gum disease and periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease)
- Oral cancer
If you have a smoking teenager, having open and honest conversations about the dangers of cigarettes, tobacco, and nicotine use is key. By eliminating the use of –– or better yet, avoiding –– tobacco products altogether, your teenager will drastically lower their risk of overall health and dental issues down the road.
Vaping and E-Cigarettes
Originally designed as a way to help smokers quit smoking, the e-cigarette device has picked up in popularity over the years, especially among teenagers. In fact, recent studies show that approximately 10% of high schoolers have used or currently use electronic cigarettes. This is much higher than the adult average, which is only around 2.8%.
A lot of these high schoolers believe that vaping is healthier than smoking traditional cigarettes, and many adults claim to have quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, there are currently no studies that indicate that electronic cigarettes are any less dangerous than traditional cigarettes.
Despite the common misconception that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, more and more young people are continuing to experiment. Electronic cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system that turns e-liquid or “vape juice” into an aerosol vapor that is inhaled.
When it comes to teenagers and vaping, it’s important for parents to note that electronic cigarettes still contain nicotine. There’s no question that nicotine is dangerous for the body, and can have a negative impact on oral health regardless of a vaper’s age.
Dangers of Nicotine Use
Many people feel safer using electronic cigarettes than they would smoking regular cigarettes, but the end result is actually the same. Nicotine is still nicotine, no matter how it’s being delivered into the body. With electronic cigarettes being marketed mostly towards young adults and teens, it’s important to educate your children about the dangers of nicotine and how it can affect their bodies, specifically their oral health.
If your smoking teenager uses any tobacco or nicotine products, knowing the side effects and how they affect their oral health is important. At Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we value your oral health and your overall well-being. We’d love to discuss how vaping can impact your health and give you the tools you need to save your natural teeth and restore your smile. With offices conveniently located in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, patient-centered care is just a phone call away. Contact our office to schedule your evaluation today!