Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, Florida
It is old news that smoking tobacco is not good for your health, nor your teeth, but what about the popular electronic cigarettes? Commonly referred to as e-cigs, this form of smokeless tobacco has become the norm among smokers, in hopes of a healthier alternative since e-cigs do not emit the same thick smoke like cigarettes. If you have made the switch to e-cigs, you may want to know the facts about its effects on your health, especially your teeth.
E-cigs may not smell like cigarettes, but don’t let the odorless smoke fool you. Although e-cigs do not contain tobacco, they still have nicotine in them, which causes harmful effects to your oral health. Nicotine can cause gum recession, which leads to tooth sensitivity, increases one’s risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Furthermore, nicotine masks the symptoms of gum disease and leads to inflammation in the mouth and throat.
Gum disease has serious ramifications for your overall health, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Not to mention, the toll it takes on your oral health by increasing your chance of developing tooth decay or tooth loss. There have also been reported cases of the e-cig devices that caused bodily harm leading to burns or even broken teeth.
Bad breath is another risk of using e-cigs since nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. This means that your mouth does not produce as much saliva as it needs. Saliva is an important part of your oral health since it helps rinse your teeth off and protect them from decay. This vasoconstrictor also restricts blood flow, which can exacerbate infections in the mouth, as well as slow the healing process following oral surgery or other extensive dental procedures such as a tooth extraction.
E-cigs are certainly not the safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. In fact, e-cigs are considered a gateway to smoking. However, if you do find yourself taking up the habit, or smoking cigarettes, be sure you watch out for signs of gum disease, which includes swollen, sensitive gums that bleed easily, bad breath, or loose teeth. Be sure that you also visit the dentist twice a year for dental checkups and cleanings. During your checkups, the dentist will also perform an oral cancer screening, which if caught early on, can be treated and is non-life threatening.
It is also important that you visit the dentist once every six months for a dental cleaning. The purpose of these visits is to document the state of your oral health, any changes that have occurred since your last visit, and to remove stuck on plaque from your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends all patients receive these checkups and cleanings twice per year or once every six months. However, some patients may require more routine visits to combat gum disease.
At PGA Smiles we welcome patients of all ages. For questions about oral care, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at (561) 627-7090.
PGA Smiles is proud to provide oral health care to patients in the areas of Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens in south Florida.