When it comes to the effects of smoking, most people think it mainly causes diseases. But the truth is, the initial damage smoking can cause begins in the mouth. Cigarette or tobacco smoking can affect your oral health in many different ways. This health issue shouldn’t be ignored, particularly when it’s teenagers doing it.
Why Do Teen’s Smoke?
There are several reasons that influence adolescents to smoke. These include the pressure to show independence or defiance, the belief that smoking is ‘cool’, smoking ads in pop culture and having guardians or parents who also smoke.
Teenagers in middle and high school often experience a form of peer pressure. In this stage, they’re trying desperately to fit in, be cool or be liked by their group of friend. Cigarette smoking is one of the many things teenagers will do during this formative phase.
It is important that they get all the help they need to steer peer pressure early on in their years. The way they respond to peer pressure will determine whether they only do smoking only to fit into the social group.
Effect of Smoking to Their Oral Health
Smoking has a huge effect on the jawbone, gums, mouth tissues and teeth. Since adolescents are still considered young, it can possibly affect their oral health in a more detrimental way. Below are some of the negative effects of smoking to their oral health:
1. Tooth decay. Smoking contributes to the dental plaque residing in their mouth. When the plaque multiplies, it becomes more difficult to get rid of them. This leads to dental tartar and tooth decay.
2. Tooth stains. Smoking causes tooth stains and discoloration. Although these discolorations can be removed through tooth whitening procedures and veneers.
3. Bad breath. Smoking can cause dry mouth due to tar and nicotine settling in the mouth. This condition is called ‘smoker’s breath’.
4. Gum disease. Tobacco can interfere with the gum tissue cells’ functions. Such damage that they cause separate the gums from the bone, leaving them susceptible to infection.
How to Prevent Teen Smoking
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, in order to reduce pain, disability, and death caused by nicotine addiction, recommends routine screening for tobacco use, treating tobacco dependence, preventing tobacco use among children and adolescents, and educating the public on the enormous health and societal costs of tobacco.
If you are a parent or guardian and you’re worried about your teen smoking, here are several preventative tips to remember:
· Help them deal with peer pressure
· Educate them about the harm of smoking and make sure they’re aware of the financial expenses that come with tobacco use.
· Explain that smoking is highly addictive and discuss the health consequences that come with it.
· As parents, you have to practice what you preach, meaning you should not smoke too.
If you see your teen’s oral health deteriorating, consult your pediatric dentist. Dental issues have to be diagnosed and treated properly at the earliest possible time to prevent further complications.