Posted on: 14 March 2017Share
It's no secret that smoking tobacco is terrible for your health. But for some reason -- perhaps because it's something done on special occasions rather than daily -- people tend to assume that smoking hookahs is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes or cigars. Sadly, smoking hookah is terrible not only for your lungs, but also for your oral health. Here's a closer look.
Why is smoking hookah so bad?
When you smoke hookah, you're exposing your mouth and respiratory tract to all of the same tobacco toxins as you'd find in a cigarette or a cigar. However, you're also exposing yourself to toxins from the burning charcoal that's placed under the tobacco in the hookah. Also, shisha -- the form of tobacco used in hookahs -- is often made in the Middle East, where there are not nearly as many purity restrictions as there are in the US where common cigarette brands are made. For these reasons, smoking hookah may be even worse for you than smoking another form of tobacco.
How does smoking hookah harm your mouth?
Smoke from the hookah can cause your teeth to develop yellow stains, but this effect is mostly cosmetic. What's more concerning is the damage the toxins in the smoke do to your gums. You'll start by developing some minor gingivitis that may cause your gums to bleed a little and turn red. Before long, this gingivitis will worsen, leading to pockets between your teeth. Then, it will move into the periodontal ligaments, which are the ligaments that anchor your teeth into the jaw bone. Eventually, your teeth will loosen and begin to fall out.
Tobacco smoke from the hookah also increases your risk of oral cancer. And oral cancer is very often deadly and difficult to treat. It can quickly spread into your jaw bone, requiring surgical removal of a part of your jaw or cheek tissue.
What should you do if you have been smoking hookah?
If you've been smoking hookah, then the best thing you can do right now is quit. Using nicotine patches or attending group therapy sessions for smokers may help. Also, make an appointment with a dentist like Mainwaring John D DDS for a checkup. They will ensure that if you are developing any decay, gingivitis, or oral cancer, it is detected and treated as early as possible.
Make sure you share this information with any of your friends who also smoke hookah. Suggest other fun group activities, like bowling or watching movies, which you can enjoy without putting your health at risk.