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Are Hookahs, E-Cigs and Nicotine Gum Bad For Your Teech?

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It's a well-known fact that smoking is very detrimental to your oral health. It can lead to unpleasantness like bad breath and yellow-colored teeth, from a physical standpoint. But it has the potential to do a lot more damage to your mouth in terms of what may not necessarily be visible to the eye. This includes:

  • Increased buildup of plaque and tartar.
  • Bone loss within the jaw.
  • An increased risk of developing gum disease.
  • An increased recovery time following oral surgery.
  • A decreased success rate of certain dental procedures.
  • An increased risk of oral infections.

Of course, ultimately, smoking has also proven to lead to an increased risk of developing oral cancer - and this is true whether it's the regular smoking of cigars, pipes or cigarettes.

Yes, smoking and oral health don't mix - but are all types of smoking bad for your teeth? Here's a look at three trendy, alternative types of tobacco/nicotine consumption and the impact they have on your teeth:

  • E-cigarettes: Many traditional smokers have taken to "vaping" rather than smoking cigarettes, as it's branded as a healthier, more affordable smoking option. Its impact on your oral health, however, is still somewhat unknown based on how new this smoking alternative is. It is known that e-cigs don't produce smoke or the harmful chemicals of traditional cigarettes, so the perception is that they're a much healthier alternative for your teeth. E-cigs do, however, still contain nicotine, which slows the mouth's ability to produce saliva. This can lead to the likes of dry mouth, increase bacteria buildup and ultimately lead to tooth decay.
  • Hookah: According to studies, hookahs are even worse for you to smoke than traditional cigarettes. In fact, it's estimated that hookah smokers are at 5 times greater risk of developing periodontal disease than non-smokers. To put this in perspective, those who smoke traditional cigarettes are 3.8 times more likely to develop the disease. Hookah smoking is also linked to bad breath, dry mouth and an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Gum: Up to 2 million Americans try nicotine gum each year as a means of quitting smoking. But this too can lead to some oral side effects. These may include mouth irritation, sores or blisters and jaw pain. Generally, the more harmful side effects associated with nicotine gum don't involve the mouth. It's also worth noting that nicotine gum is a smoking cessation, so the idea is that smokers who are chewing it for this purpose won't be chewing it for the rest of their lives, but for a matter of weeks or months.

The bottom line is that smoking is not good for your teeth or your oral health - and while some smoking alternatives may be better in this regard, they all can present their share of oral troubles too. Hence, the best way to prevent smoking from impacting your oral health is to never start smoking at all. For more information on smoking and the impact it has on your teeth, contact Caven Dental today.

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