Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. smoke, and 4.7 million middle and high school students use a tobacco product including e-cigarettes, according to the Center for Disease Control. Many tobacco users have been persuaded that vaping is safer, but studies now show that vaping is just as addictive and deliver more toxic chemicals to the system than regular smoking. Recently, vaping has been linked to six fatalities and 450 illnesses nationwide.
No matter how you look at it – whether you smoke, chew tobacco, or vape e-cigarettes – the use of these products can cause serious health problems, including extreme damage to the health of your gums and teeth:
- Cancer. Tobacco use is linked to many types of cancers, including mouth, throat, esophagus, cheek, gum, lip and tongue cancer. Chemicals in e-cigarette vapors cause changes in the genetic make up of cells in the mouth, causing sustained inflammation and, long term, can trigger the development of cancer
- Cavities. Chewing tobacco is loaded with sugar, which can erode your tooth enamel, and vaping can cause excessive bacteria in the mouth, contributing to tooth decay
- Gum disease. Vaping can aggravate mild forms of gum disease, causing more serious damage. Tobacco's sugars and irritants can cause gum infections. Over time, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Signs include red swollen gums, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, tooth loss
- Precancerous mouth lesions. Chewing tobacco can cause lesions where the chew is placed and can become cancerous
- Longer healing time. Smoking, vaping and chewing tobacco will hinder the healing process following oral surgery
Before you light up that cigarette, vape or chew tobacco, consider the damage it can have to your teeth and overall oral hygiene.
Better yet, don’t start.