Although everyone is likely to know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer and emphysema, most people may not realize that cigarettes can have an impact on your smile! Chronic smokers suffer from increased dental problems that can make their smiles unsightly. Understanding how smoking affects your oral health may provide the momentum that you need to kick the habit for good.
Cosmetic Changes Associated With Smoking
Cigarettes contain more than 600 ingredients that, when lit, create in excess of 4,000 chemicals. Of these, many are known to be carcinogens while others have been shown to have serious negative effects on health. The nicotine and tar in all tobacco products are absorbed by the enamel of your teeth. The result is yellowed teeth that look unsightly; with heavy smoking, your teeth may eventually turn nearly brown in color. Smoking is also associated with a build-up of tartar and plaque on the surface of your teeth. Over time, this increases your risk of developing cavities and other oral health problems. Furthermore, pursing your lips while smoking, leads to wrinkles around your mouth, which detracts from your smile.
Electronic Cigarettes or "Vaping"
The verdict is still out on whether the newest craze of electronic cigarettes is a "safe" alternative to smoking. Early studies are suggesting that the heating elements used to aerosolize the glycol into a vapor, deposit metals into the vapor, that when inhaled, are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Also, the water vapor that is being expressed from the process has been shown to be absorbed as "second-hand" smoke into the by-standers that are not using the product. If the electronic cigarettes are utilizing a nicotine cartridge, then that means that the non-vaping individuals inhaling the vapors can be exposed to the drug nicotine. Early studies have shown significant amounts of nicotine in their bloodstreams as well. Finally, many of the flavored vapors may have added sweeteners that can contribute to tooth decay. Since all of these e-cigarettes are NOT regulated by the FDA, more research studies are required and patients need to be very cautious.
If you have any questions or are in need of an appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!