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Smiles at Risk: How Vaping and Smoking Affect Pediatric Oral Health

In the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of teens who are experimenting with vaping as an alternative to smoking tobacco. This concern is growing globally, and one of the most effective weapons against it is clear communication and education about the risks. Smiling Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Indianapolis is dedicated to helping our patients and their parents work together to avoid the oral health risks of vaping and smoking tobacco through cessation and abstinence.

How Vaping And Tobacco Use Impact Pediatric Oral Health

While the research on the overall health implications of vaping vs. tobacco use is still out, some oral health implications are well understood. These habits have been tied to several oral health issues ranging from potentially life-threatening to cosmetic. While the more common implications can be addressed with cosmetic treatments, some of the more severe reach beyond the ability of dental care to treat.

Those engaging in smoking or vaping are increasing their risk of the following:

  • Enamel discoloration and staining
  • The accelerated build-up of plaque and tartar
  • Chronic halitosis and bad breath
  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease
  • Extended healing times following dental procedures
  • Oral cancer

The least concerning oral health implications on this list are halitosis (bad breath) and discoloration of the enamel. These concerns can typically be addressed with simple oral hygiene, cessation of the habit, and cosmetic treatments. While dental whitening can often address discolored enamel, more advanced cases may require costly treatments such as veneers and crowns. 

Accelerated growth of plaque and tartar is a significant concern as they can lead to greater tooth decay and gum disease risks. When these habits impact the healing rate, the delay opens a longer window of time in which reinfection and treatment failure can occur.

Most concerning on this list is an increased risk of oral cancer. While it is among the most treatable of cancers when caught early, it rapidly becomes life-threatening in its later stages. However, while the success of treating it may be higher in the early stages, there is no guarantee that these treatments will be successful.

It’s important to understand that a steady dental hygiene routine and regular dental visits will not prevent the above risks. They may mitigate the likelihood of the more mundane ones, but there is no evidence suggesting that the risks of oral cancer are reduced with regular oral care when these vices are a factor.

Contact Smiling Kids Pediatric Dentistry In Indianapolis 

If you’re concerned that your child may be engaging in vaping or smoking and want to take steps to protect their oral health, schedule an appointment today. Our team will work with you and your child to make sure the risks of these habits are made clear. We can provide examples of cases caused by smoking and vaping and help connect them with cessation programs that will help them break the habit. Call us today at (317) 580-9199 to schedule your appointment, or come see us in Indianapolis, IN, today!