It seems like there is always something new for parents to worry about, especially as kids prepare to go back to school. What kind of friends will they make? Who will influence them the most? Will they make prudent and responsible decisions? Vaping is a relatively recent phenomenon that has parents concerned. If you are the parent of a teen, it’s important to find a dentist near you who can explain the effects of vaping on teeth and intervene if your child has already picked up the habit.
Dr. Matt is a pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS. He treats children of all ages and looks out for the special concerns of each age group. He and the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are compassionate and nonjudgmental, partnering with parents to provide the best possible care for young patients.
Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment for your teen.
What is vaping?
Vaping is touted as being the “harmless” alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes contain a heating element to warm a liquid, which will then turn into an inhalable aerosol gas.
Vaping is quite prevalent among American teens and adolescents. 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students report using e-cigarettes.
How does vaping affect adolescents and teens?
While it’s true that vaping devices are less disastrous than deadly cigarettes, they are far from “harmless.” Virtually all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. In fact, just one pod of JUUL, a top-selling e-cigarette brand, contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes.
Nicotine exposure can have serious consequences for brain development, changing the way that synapses are formed between brain cells. Nicotine can also alter impulse control, attention, and mood. And adolescents who are addicted to nicotine may be more likely to try other drugs later on.
How does vaping affect teeth?
As if all this weren’t enough, vaping may also increase the risk for cavities and gum disease. Vaping quickly changes the type of bacteria found in the mouth. Those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to have the type of bacteria that survive off of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine, substances commonly found in vaping aerosol. Plus, many vaping liquids contain added flavors and sugars, which increase the risk of cavities, just like sugary foods.
What should I do if I think my child is vaping?
If you suspect that your child is using e-cigarettes, it’s important to have an open and honest dialogue with them. Many adolescents are unaware that vaping devices contain nicotine and they’ve bought into the marketing hype that vaping is completely safe. Without pressure or anger, explain the consequences of nicotine exposure. And, of course, make sure you are setting a good example of a tobacco-free lifestyle.
You may also want to schedule an appointment with a dentist near you. He can assess your child’s teeth and gums, providing necessary treatment if vaping has compromised their oral health.
Contact a Dentist Near You Today
To learn more about teen dental health or to book an appointment with a pediatric dentist near you, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids online. You can also call us at (913) 685-9990.