Seattle dental patients, this week our blog discussion is a follow up to our blog on marijuana use and its negative effects on the oral cavity. This week Dr. Amato discusses other tobacco products; namely e-cigarettes, hookahs and smokeless tobacco products.
At LeCuyer & Amato Dentistry we have advocated smoking cessation in regards to cigarettes, but we have fallen in regards to discussing other forms of tobacco use. Especially with the advent of e-cigarettes which gives people the sense it is cleaner and cannot be as dangerous as dirty cigarettes. Or culturally, the use of hookahs in a social situation. Or the peer pressure and the cool factor of chewing tobacco.
American healthcare providers have been remarkably successful in educating the population about the dangers of cigarettes. So much so, that the number of past cigarette smokers in the US outweighs the number of cigarette smokers. But, with the decrease of cigarette smokers, there has been an increase use of other nicotine and tobacco products especially among young Americans. These youth are unaware of the dangers of these products such as: nicotine addiction, mouth and throat cancer, periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. As smokers attempt to quit, they turn to other products believing they are safer. This thought process of “safer” also causes the non-smoker to be attracted to the products’ novelty and perceived safety.
There are the obvious deleterious effects of tobacco, but the tobacco free products still raise valid concerns, including nicotine addiction, lack of information about the ingredients the products contain and long term use. The packaging and candy like flavors have alarmed parents and health care providers also.
According to the data the CDC published recently, 13.4% of high schools students and 3.9% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes within the previous 30 days. This is a rapid increase compared to previous data. In a recent journal, formadelhyde, a known carcinogen, was found in the “vaping” process. E-cigarettes often have nicotine, a known addictive chemical.
Healthcare professionals are worried that e-cigarettes may become a “gateway” to more traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes, especially for our youth. 40 states have outlawed the sale of electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDS) to minors.
The CDC estimates tobacco use causes 5 million deaths worldwide. No form of tobacco product is safe. The CDC has also seen an increase use of smokeless tobacco with youths, 10.5% of male American youths have used smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco also has nicotine, is addictive, stains teeth, causes gum recession and bone loss. Smokeless tobacco can also lead to oral cancer.Dissolvables are also worrisome as they look and taste like candy. The packaging appears like gum and breath mints. They contain nicotine and tobacco which are harmful and the sugar can also lead to tooth decay.
The hookah has a long history of cultural and social use. Often times hookah users are exposed to the noxious smoke for long periods of time. 40-45 minutes of hookah use can be equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes. The risk factors of hookah use are the same as cigarette use. Hookah use has seen an increase popularity in the US especially among American youth. Hookah cafes are popping up on more college campuses. There is no proof that the toxins from the tobacco smoke are removed by the water in hookahs. Hookah smoke contains high levels of carcinogens similar to tobacco smoke. Thus the risk of using hookahs is the same as smoking cigarettes, lung cancer, oral cancer, tooth decay, tooth loss, periodontal disease, nicotine addiction and a plethora of other health problems.
Our role as your Oral Health Provider is to counsel, screen, inform and educate all our patients. Call LeCuyer & Amato Dentistry today to schedule your routine dental hygiene cleaning, exam and oral cancer screening at 206-626-5400.