Tobacco use, marijuana, and vaping are all common habits that can have a negative impact on your oral health. Listed below are a few ways in which these habits can affect your oral health.
Tobacco is a substance that is usually smoked in a cigarette or another cigar-like product. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. When individuals use tobacco or smoke cigarettes, they expose their teeth and gums to dangerous chemicals like tar and nicotine. These substances can severely damage the teeth and surrounding oral tissues if they aren’t properly removed with regular brushing and flossing. Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can lead to a variety of oral and overall health issues as well. In addition to staining your teeth with the tar from cigarettes, tobacco products can cause dry mouth, tooth decay, gum disease, and even oral cancer. People who smoke are more likely to have decreased blood flow to their gums and have an increased risk of developing gum disease. It also causes teeth to appear yellow or brown in color due to the staining of the outer enamel of the tooth. Tobacco use also slows down the healing process after oral surgery or other procedure.
Marijuana is sometimes referred to as “weed.” It is a substance that is most commonly smoked. It produces many of the same effects as smoking cigarettes; however, these side effects can be more pronounced and last much longer. Like with tobacco, those who smoke weed are at an increased risk of contracting other health issues, including gum disease and oral cancers.
The primary harm that marijuana use causes are that it stains the teeth. The chemicals that are released when an individual inhales the smoke from the plant are highly acidic. Over time, these acids will erode the enamel of the teeth, causing them to appear more yellow in color. Individuals who have stained and yellowed teeth often become self-conscious about their appearance and will hide their teeth when speaking, laughing, smiling, and eating. Additionally, the yellowing of teeth typically occurs along the gum line, which can make individuals look much older than they actually are.
The smoke from marijuana contains over four hundred different chemicals, sixty of which are known carcinogens. This means that using marijuana may increase the risk of cancer. There also appears to be a link between gum disease and chronic cannabis use. This is mainly due to the fact that both conditions are associated with chronic inflammation. As with tobacco use, frequent marijuana use also increases the risk of oral decay and dry mouth. If you use marijuana regularly, be sure to speak with your dentist about how to protect your smile.
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or vaporizer instead of smoking a traditional cigarette. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals that can have negative effects on your health. However, many people believe that they are a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. But that’s not entirely true. E-cigarettes and vapes still contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that constricts blood vessels resulting in decreased blood flow which inhibits the natural healing process in your gums. Nicotine can also dry out your mouth. It also increases your risk of gum disease. Vaping can also cause severe inflammation in your mouth. Inflammation can increase your risk of infection, and inflammation in the gums can result in receding gums. Tobacco and smokeless tobacco products also contain sugar which adds to tooth decay risk in addition to gum recession.
If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting can help improve overall oral health. Brushing and flossing twice daily can also help reduce your risk of gum disease by removing bacteria and food particles from the surface of your teeth. Regular visits to the dentist can also help prevent and treat gum disease. Professional cleanings performed by your dentist can remove hard-to-remove plaque and tartar buildup that your toothbrush cannot. In addition to removing debris, professional cleanings also polish your teeth to leave them looking and feeling healthier.
It’s highly recommended to quit all tobacco products as soon as possible, but if you’re unable to quit on your own, visit your dentist to discuss additional steps to quit smoking, including prescription options to help you kick the habit for good. For more details, call us at (702) 331-2121, book an appointment online, or visit us at 10521 Jeffreys St #200, Henderson, NV 89052.