Is Your Child Smoking?

9 out of 10 smokers have tried their first cigarette by the age of 18. Only 2 percent of smokers try their first cigarette after the age of 26. That means adolescence and early adulthood are crucial years in forming a smoking habit. Do you know what to do if you catch your child smoking? If the consequences alone are not enough to keep them away, we have tips and advice for confronting your teenager about smoking cigarettes.

Smoking is detrimental to everyone’s health. But, it’s much more dangerous for minors. Why? Because forming the habit of smoking cigarettes happens most often before the age of 26. The side effects of smoking are numerous, including lung cancer, oral cancer, and death. In 2016 alone, tobacco use resulted in over 7.1 million deaths worldwide. 6.3 million of those deaths were attributable to smoking cigarettes.

There are many oral health side effects to smoking cigarettes. Ensure your child is informed on the consequences of smoking cigarettes.

Bad Breath from Smoking

We all know smoking causes bad breath, but “ashtray breath” isn’t the worst consequence. Smoking stains your teeth, damages your gum tissue, and reduces your ability to taste food. To make matters worse, smoking affects your sense of smell, so often times smokers may not be aware of how bad their breath really is. Want to avoid ashtray breath? Quit smoking today.

Gum Disease and Smoking Cigarettes

Smoking is a major risk factor for developing gum disease. When gum disease is severe, it can cause teeth to fall out. Gum disease can be prevented by quitting smoking, going to the dentist regularly, and brushing and flossing. Warning signs for gum disease include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth

Stained Teeth from Tobacco

Smoking or using other nicotine products can make the enamel of your teeth more likely to stain. Once you’re hooked, teeth begin yellowing quickly. Regular visits to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned can reduce staining, but it will not be as effective if you continue smoking.

Lung Cancer and Oral Cancer

The long term effects of smoking cigarettes are damaging. According to the American Lung Association, “Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S”. Not all of these deaths are attributed to smoking, but 80 percent to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths are linked to cigarette smoking.

These are just four examples of how smoking can be detrimental to your health, but how do you have this conversation with your child?

Because smoking can be glamorized in popular culture, it’s your responsibility to ensure your children understand the real consequences. Tell your children honestly and directly that you don't want them to smoke cigarettes, use e-cigarettes, or use any type of tobacco product. Give them clear, consistent messages about the risks and damaging effects of these products.

Here are some methods to addressing your children about smoking:

  • Talk to your children about the dangers of smoking. If friends or relatives has been affected by tobacco-related illnesses, let your kids know.
  • You can talk to them about responding to peer pressure
  • Never promote smoking or smoke in front of your children

Looking for more information on how tobacco affect our oral health? Ask your physician or a dentist near you for more information!