With trendy hookah lounges and different tobacco flavors, smoking hookah has become more and more popular within the past decade. In fact, a study from the journal Pediatrics published a study that revealed around 18% of high school seniors have tried hookah at some point. This seemingly harmless trend comes with a long list of negative health effects. Problems like decreased fertility and reduced lung function are just a few of the notable issues that hookah smokers can end up dealing with.
Along with these negative effects, hookah smokers can also find their oral health damaged due to smoking. Like any tobacco product, hookah has an effect on your teeth and the gum tissue that is holding your teeth in place. Habitual smokers can eventually find themselves dealing with serious oral health problems like gum disease. After enough time has passed with continued smoking and untreated gum disease, individuals can even face severe oral health problems like tooth loss. While there are effective restoration options like dental implants, we believe that taking preventative steps is your best bet to maintaining optimal oral health. How can you prevent oral health damage? A good start is being aware of what can harm your smile. To explain more on the oral health dangers of hookah, Dr. Daniel Fenton of Fort Lauderdale, FL explores this topic in-depth.
All About Hookah
Hookah is known by several names but it all boils down to the use of a water pipe to smoke flavored or sweetened tobacco. Flavors or sweeteners added can often include molasses, honey, artificial flavors, mint, or coffee. The hookah works by using a chamber that uses charcoal, which is separated by aluminum foil, on top of the tobacco. The tobacco is then heated up, creating smoke that is pulled through the water chamber and inhaled by the hookah smoker. With the flavorings added, smokers can enjoy a sweetened taste of the hookah aroma.
Hookah dates back to India and Asia in the 1600s when an Indian physician invented the hookah, believing that passing through water would limit the health hazards of the tobacco. Fast forward hundreds of years and flavored hookah caught on in Mediterranean countries until is spread to the United States.
The popularity of hookah has made it a prevalent health issue for many people. Without the stigma associated with smoking cigarettes, many hookah smokers are under the impression that it is less dangerous. In reality, smoking hookah can be just as, if not more, dangerous than smoking cigarettes. Many smokers are also under the false belief that smoking from a hookah can remove the nicotine and harmful chemicals from tobacco. Here are some surprising statistics about smoking hookah that may make you think twice before heading to a hookah lounge:
- Smoke from hookah can have 46 times more tar than smoke from a cigarette
- Hookah smokers are exposed to 100-200 times the amount of smoke in a cigarette in just an hour of smoking hookah
- Hookah smoke still contains tar, arsenic, lead, and other harmful chemicals that can be found in a traditional cigarette
What Does This Mean for Your Oral Health?
It’s well known that smoking cigarettes are bad for the health of your smile. Although many people don’t realize it, smoking hookah presents the same dangers to your smile as a traditional cigarette. The most prominent effect of smoking hookah, like smoking cigarettes, can be on your gums. There is a high correlation of smoking tobacco products to the development of gum disease. That’s because the use of tobacco products weakens your body’s immune system, which is vital to fighting off infections in your gums. It also limits the amount of blood flow to your gums, which will slow healing of your gums. Other effects of smoking hookah include:
Dry Mouth: Saliva production is key to keeping your teeth in great shape because it protects teeth against tooth decay and washes bacteria away. Hookah inhibits the production of saliva, making your teeth more susceptible to decay.
Bad Breath: Like we mentioned before, gum disease is a common result of smoking hookah. Even if you’re smoking flavored tobacco, your gums can be infected, which will cause halitosis or chronic bad breath.
Oral Cancer: With known carcinogens in tobacco products, hookah smokers make themselves susceptible to developing oral cancer due to the usage of tobacco products.
Contact our Office in Fort Lauderdale
All in all, smoking hookah can be detrimental to your oral health and even your overall bodily health. Suffering from tooth decay and tooth loss is not an uncommon side effect of tobacco use. If you’re currently dealing with tooth loss, we recommend restoring your teeth as soon as possible to limit the damage that can occur in your remaining teeth and underlying jawbone. To get started on your dental implant process, contact our office today to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Fenton.