An important part of providing dental care services for children is taking part in their healthcare education. Kids 360 Pediatric Dentistry is dedicated to ensuring that our patients and their families get the support and information they need to make informed choices about their oral health. One way we do this is by helping our patients understand the risks of participating in habits such as tobacco smoking and vaping. While vaping has a reputation as being safer than tobacco use, the science on this topic is still out. What is known is that there are oral health consequences to both of these practices, which we’ll help you understand in the article below.
How Tobacco Use and Vaping Impact Oral Health
With the introduction of vaping, studies have shown that US Middle and High School students have embraced this new habit, despite it not being legal for them to do so. Nearly 2.5 million students, or one out of every 10, use vaping products at least once a month. Nearly 14% of all high school students reported using e-cigarettes, while 3% of middle school students reportedly have done so. This is strikingly higher than the number that use tobacco products, which includes only 4 out of every 100 students, or 1 in 6. This means that both tobacco and vaping pose a significant threat to the oral and overall health of millions of children.
Some of the most common oral health problems that occur with tobacco and vape use include:
- Dental Discoloration – The “juices” used in vaping may not stain as badly as the smoke and tar of tobacco, but it can still lead to discoloration. When this discoloration gets severe, it can require more than simple brushing and flossing to eliminate it.
- Plaque Buildup – Studies have shown that both vaping and tobacco use stimulate the growth and buildup of plaque on the teeth. This plaque can lead to higher risk levels for dental decay and gum disease.
- Halitosis – Bad breath is primarily a concern with tobacco use, but both can cause buildup in the oral cavity that produces lingering odors.
- Delayed Healing – Nicotine is found in both tobacco and vaping products and is responsible for the dilation of the blood vessels. This can make it more difficult for the body to heal from oral health procedures.
- Oral Cancer Risk – Tobacco, in particular, has been connected with higher rates of oral cancer in patients. While there isn’t sufficient information to determine the risk level associated with vaping, it’s known that these products also cause oral inflammation. This is one of the major contributors to oral cancer risks.
Our children are always going to make their own choices, either when they’re in our home or after they move out. We cannot control them every moment of every day, and that’s why education is the most important contributor to prevention and abstaining from unhealthy behaviors.
Contact Us To Get Help Educating Your Child On The Risks
If you’re concerned your child may be considering engaging in either of these unhealthy behaviors, it’s time to get together with our team to help educate them on the risks. You can reach out to us at