Standing up to peer pressure can sometimes be a challenge, especially for teenagers. But there's never a better time to resist than when it comes to pressure to smoke – and that's true both in terms of overall health, and oral health, too.
Most people know about the increased risk of lung cancer and other health problems associated with smoking cigarettes. but not as many people are aware of the oral health problems that smoking can cause.
Some of these oral health problems, such as bad breath and tooth discolouration, are just unpleasant to the senses, but smoking has some serious oral health consequences, too.
Smoking cigarettes causes an increase in the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. In turn, causes cavities (decay) and tooth sensitivity as a result of the acid in the plaque that eats away at tooth enamel and dentin.
The excess of tartar and plaque caused by smoking may also contribute to the development of gum disease, which can eventually result in tooth loss, and loss of jaw bone density.
And of course, smoking also increases the risk of oral cancer.
How can stop my teen from smoking?
The best way to stop your teen from smoking is by ensuring he or she is educated about its risks.
It can help to start talking to your children about the risks of smoking as soon as they’re old enough to understand. That being said, it’s never too late to start talking about it, if you haven't yet. Better late than not at all!
To discuss this topic with your child, whatever their age, prepare a bit in advance by doing some research, and then sit down together for a earnest, straightforward discussion about the risks associated with smoking.
It doesn't have to be a long talk, but try to touch on all of the more serious health issues in detail.
But don’t forget to mention things like bad breath and yellow, discoloured teeth! Teenagers tend to feel a bit invincible when it comes to their health, but they also tend to be very self-conscious about their appearances, and what their friends think. Use this to your advantage; bringing up the social issues associated with smoking can have a bigger impact than the scary health issues!