Smoking, Vaping & Your Oral Health
Today, pretty much everyone knows about the way that smoking impacts our health. Still, most people don’t realize how smoking can seriously affect the health of your mouth.
When a person smokes, the mouth is where the smoke hits first. Therefore, the effects of smoking are most readily seen in a person’s mouth.
In recent years, vaporizing, or vaping flavored nicotine juice has become a trend. However, while vaping is meant as a better alternative to smoking cigarettes, it can still have an abundance of negative effects, especially in your mouth.
Below, we’ll look at the effects of smoking and vaping on a person’s oral health.
The Effects of Smoking Cigarettes
It’s a well-known fact that cigarette smoke is filled with thousands of harmful chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens. And, when a person smokes, these chemicals first encounter their mouth, tongue, teeth and cheeks. And, because of this, the effects of smoking can most readily be seen in the mouth.
Not only does cigarette smoke stain your teeth and cause them to take on a yellowish color, it also weakens to enamel on your teeth, putting you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay. Additionally, smoking can cause a buildup of harmful bacteria on your teeth. In turn, this causes gum disease, as well as receding gums, bad breath and compromised oral health.
Lastly, the biggest and most devastating effect of smoking on your oral health is that it can lead to oral cancer. There are over 7,000 chemicals present in cigarette smoke, 70 of which are known carcinogens.
The Effect of Vaping
Recently, vaping has been marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking but there is still much research needed to discover the long-term effects of vaping. Still, there are some benefits to vaping such as it does not result in bad breath, discolored teeth or a buildup of plaque.
However, most vaping juices still contain nicotine, which reduces blood flow and can negatively impact your mouth’s ability to fight off harmful bacteria. In turn, this puts you at a higher risk of developing serious infections and periodontal disease.
Additionally, some flavorings used in e-cigarettes have been known to cause cellular damage in your mouth. There have also been studies which have concluded that vaping leads to the same suppression of key immune genes in your nasal passages, throat and lungs. This means that vaping e-cigarettes is potentially just as harmful as regular cigarette smoke.
Impact on Healing
Lastly, research has shown a direct correlation between smoking and slower wound healing after surgery. Inhaling cigarette smoke reduces the oxygen levels in your body and without proper oxygen levels, wounds take much longer to close. This leaves you with open wounds and a much higher risk of infection.
Therefore, if you’re a smoker, it is important to understand how smoking can impact your body’s ability to heal itself. Especially if you have an upcoming surgery. If so, quitting smoking before undergoing the surgery will ensure that your body will be able to heal itself much easier.