It is a known fact that consuming excess sugar is bad for your teeth, but what about some of the other common habits adults have? While you may be a perfect angel that does not drink, smoke, or engage in any personal vices, there’s no denying that many Americans do, and each of these habits has a different impact on your smile. Rather than ignore these vices as if they’re taboo, let us explore the ways that these three popular American habits affect the smiles of those who use them.
Understanding Our Lives and Habits – What is a Vice?
The definition of “vice” is an immoral or evil habit or practice. While habits like drinking or even using tobacco are considered vices because they are habits that can be harmful to your health, they do not necessarily qualify as being immoral or evil. Ultimately, many Americans participate in at least one of these controversial habits, and while each makes an impact on your overall health, they all take their toll on your smile as well.
How these 3 Popular Vices Affect Your Teeth
It’s completely normal for the average person to have a drink once in awhile, but when any of these habits become a mandatory part of your life, it evolves into a vice. A common trait of all of these vices is that they can lead to psychological or physical addiction, further increasing the risk of using them. Whether through their method of delivery or due to the havoc they cause once in your mouth, all of these cause significant problems for your oral health as well.
1. Tobacco Use
About 50 years ago, smoking was extremely commonplace, and no one would have batted an eye if you lit a cigarette in a restaurant. Decades of research later, we now know that smoking tobacco exposes you to hundreds of chemicals and is a leading cause of lung cancer. Although 1 in 5 deaths in America is due directly to smoking, about 15% of the population still smokes tobacco on a regular basis.
How Does Tobacco Use Affect Your Teeth?
Even worse than the other habits on this list, smoking or chewing tobacco are both among the absolute worst possible things you can do to your teeth. From stains and bad breath to severe gum disease and oral cancer, both smoking and chewing tobacco are death sentences for your smile. The risks of tobacco go far beyond impacting your lungs but can be detrimental to your mouth, teeth, and gums.
2. Drinking Alcohol
Being someone who consumes alcohol can mean a wide variety of things. One side of the spectrum is the moderate users who may drink responsibly with friends, and the other has those who are alcoholics and binge drinkers who overindulge. Like many addictions, alcohol becomes more damaging to the user the more it’s abused. While severe alcohol use can result in seizures and liver failure, it also leaves its mark on your smile.
How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Oral Health?
The ways alcohol affects your oral health range from inconvenient to terrifying. First, 70% of patients diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. Alcohol is also notorious for drying out your mouth and staining your teeth. Plus, different types of alcohol harm your teeth in their own individual ways – for example, beer contains a lot of acids which can damage your teeth. If you choose to drink in moderation, it’s vital to remember the damage it can cause and brush your teeth afterward to minimize harm to your smile.
3. Marijuana Use
With 27 states embracing the legalization of medical marijuana and seven more legalizing it for recreational use, it’s clear that usage of the drug is going to become exponentially more widespread. Although many who are unfamiliar with this drug fear the side effects, the reality is that marijuana has never caused a death and is infinitely safer than tobacco and alcohol. That’s not to say it’s great for your teeth, however – check out the ways that smoking or eating marijuana can take a serious toll on your oral health.
How Does Marijuana Use Impact Your Oral Health?
While marijuana smoke doesn’t contain the over 300 toxins found in cigarettes, the act of smoking can take its toll on your teeth. This is especially evident when it comes to staining. For heavy smokers, infection or edema of gum tissues is a condition that may develop.
In addition to smoking, many dispensaries sell marijuana in the form of edibles. If you choose to use edibles, it’s important to know that just about all of them are baked with extra sugar in order to mask the taste of the marijuana. This means that it’s highly recommended to brush your teeth after using marijuana and to keep an eye out for changes in your teeth.
Your Habits Determine the Health of Your Smile
Americans have a lot of freedom to do what they please, but with that freedom comes the responsibility of keeping your body and smile healthy. Choosing to go all in on any of these vices is a recipe for disaster, but moderate use can still have its place in a healthy, productive lifestyle. Whatever habits you choose to participate in in your adult life, it’s wise to understand the impact it can make on your health, oral and otherwise. Contact Dentistry of Nashville to schedule your next appointment.