9 out of 10 smokers have tried their first cigarette by the age of 18. That means adolescence and early adulthood are crucial years in forming a smoking habit.
Smoking is detrimental to everyone’s health. The side effects of smoking are numerous, including lung cancer, oral cancer, and death. In 2016 alone, tobacco use resulted in more than 7.1 million deaths worldwide. Nearly 90% of those deaths were attributable to smoking cigarettes.
There are many oral health side effects to smoking cigarettes. Ensure your child is informed on the consequences of smoking cigarettes.
Bad Breath from Smoking
We all know smoking causes bad breath, also known as “ashtray breath.” To make matters worse, smoking affects your sense of smell, so often times smokers may not be aware of how bad their breath really is. Want to avoid ashtray breath? Quit smoking today.
Gum Disease and Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking is a major risk factor for developing gum disease. When gum disease is severe, it can cause teeth to fall out. Gum disease can be prevented by quitting smoking, going to the dentist regularly, and brushing and flossing. Warning signs for gum disease include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
Stained teeth from tobacco
Smoking or using other nicotine products can stain the enamel of your teeth. Once you’re hooked, teeth begin yellowing quickly. Regular visits to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned can reduce staining, but it will not be as effective if you continue smoking.
Lung Cancer and Oral Cancer
The long-term effects of smoking cigarettes are damaging. According to the American Lung Association, “Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the US.” Not all of these deaths are attributed to smoking, but 80 percent to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths are linked to cigarette smoking.
These are just four examples of how smoking can be detrimental to your health, but how do you have this conversation with your child?
- Talk to your children about the dangers of smoking. If friends or relatives have been affected by tobacco-related illnesses, let your kids know.
- Offer them ways to respond to peer pressure
- Never promote smoking or smoke in front of your children
Looking for more information on how tobacco affects our oral health? Ask your physician or a dentist near you for more information!