Skip to Content

Teens and Tobacco

Winterset Dental logo

Ask an adult who smokes and you may find that they started in high school.  Ask them whether they’ve ever quit the habit, and they will likely respond, “Several times”.  Ask me whether tobacco affects your dental health, and I will shout “Oh, yes”. Besides an increased risk for oral cancer, it also contributes to periodontal disease.

According to the website, every day an estimated 2100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers.  Teens today are most likely to smoke e-cigarettes, so this change in behavior reflects an overall decrease in the data for tobacco use among Americans. But young people who start with e-cigarettes or smokeless are also more likely to become smokers.

The effect of tobacco on your health is now widely known, though there are some differences between problems that arise from cigarette use versus smokeless use.  However, they both make someone more prone to develop cancer. That is why our office performs routine Oral Cancer exams on our patients.  The most disturbing part of this procedure, I’ve seen over time, is that oral cancer doesn’t just take hold after a long time of tobacco use. No one is immune.

With my children now grown, I no longer worry about their decisions (or so I tell my wife), but I still consider myself able to influence the decisions of my patients.  I frequently bring up patients with my son who is a doctor, without giving identities, and ask about medical advances in cancer treatment that have been transferred from lab animals to humans. The bottom line of research is that it is always wise to test and intercept a cancerous growth in the early stages, rather than wait, in hopes that it will disappear.

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.