With the recent popularity of Vaping, many wonder if Vaping is any better for a person’s oral health than smoking. The bottom line is that vaping is no better for a person’s dental health than smoking cigarettes or the use of any nicotine product. Given the questions we receive at Kesteven Dental Care, reviewing the crucial questions seems like a good idea.
Why is smoking/vaping bad?
First, tobacco use in any form, i.e. cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, increases your risk for gum disease. Though there is no tobacco in e-cigarettes, they are no better for your oral health. Though e-cigarettes do not produce smoke, the vapour contains nicotine, other chemicals and heavy metals, which are still bad for the body and teeth. The nicotine damages gum tissue, reduces saliva production resulting in bad breath, receding gum and tooth loss.
Next, smoking weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight infection. Once your gums are damaged, smoking makes it harder for your gums to heal.
Note that smokeless tobacco products(snuff or chewing tobacco) are no safer than cigarettes. They have higher levels of nicotine and chemicals than cigarettes; they also contain sugar, which only increases your risk of tooth decay.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums which can affect the bone structure of your teeth. If it is severe, teeth can fall out. Gum disease starts with bacteria that gets under your gums, developing into plaque and tartar, known as gingivitis. Eventually, gums pull away from your teeth, and the spaces formed get infected; when severe, the condition is known as periodontitis.
- Red, tender, swollen or bleeding gums
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Painful chewing
Will my teeth get better if I quit smoking?
Yes! Even if you have smoked for years, quitting can improve your health and reduce your chances of gum disease and tooth loss. Quitting lowers your chance of oral cancer, lung and heart disease.
How to quit smoking:
Here are some simple ways to quit smoking:
- Avoid triggers like being around others who smoke, which could intensify your cravings.
- Stay busy. Being distracted can help you manage cravings when they arise by throwing yourself into an activity
- Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy
- Remember why you are quitting
- Consider Behavioral Therapy, which can help you overcome rituals and learn new habits.
- Get back on track when you find yourself lighting up. Today is a new day!
How to treat Gum Disease?
Use good dental habits to treat gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice/day
- Floss once/day
- See your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit.
By Lori Kesteven