As school year begins, CDC and ADA remind youth of health dangers of smoking

As students and families dig into a new school year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a reminder of the dangers of smoking, which includes oral health problems.

E-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to data published by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products.

E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are small refillable devices that look like cigarettes and use battery power to vaporize nicotine solutions so they can be inhaled.

The CDC warns that nicotine exposure at a young age—even into young adulthood—may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction and lead to continued tobacco use.

Traditional cigarettes also remain a health threat to adolescents. Tobacco use is started and established primarily during this time in a person's life, according to the CDC.

"Nearly 9 out of 10 adult smokers first try cigarettes by age 18, while 96 percent first try cigarettes by 21. If your child is using tobacco, get support to help him or her quit right away. Youth use of tobacco in any form is unsafe, and preventing tobacco use among youth is critical to helping them live long and healthy lives," said Brian King, acting deputy director for Research Translation at CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.

Among other significant health problems, cigarettes and chewing tobacco can lead to stained teeth and tongue, a dulled sense of taste and small, slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery, difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems, gum disease and oral cancer, according to the American Dental Association's consumer website,

Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of tobacco-related health problems.

For more information about smoking, tobacco and oral health, visit

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Oral Care Occurrences for TEENS

As teens continue to grow, they’re faced with certain dental issues, such as getting braces or having their wisdom teeth removed. Many of these procedures are a normal part of life, while others are proactive steps dentists take to help ensure a lifetime of oral health.

Here are some good topics to discuss with your teen:

  • Bad breath causes – bad breath, or halitosis, usually comes from bacteria that form on the tongue. In many cases, a simple change in your teen’s personal oral hygiene habits can freshen him up, starting with good oral hygiene, brush the tongue and keep regular visits to your dentist.

  • Whitening options – whitening those pearly whites can be done with whitening toothpastes, mouth rinses and toothbrushes. The dentist also offers whitening treatment options that are done in the dental office and at home.

  • Tobacco use – tobacco products contain toxins that can cause various types of cancer, gum disease, bad breath, tooth discoloration and a diminished sense of smell. It’s easier to kick a smoking habit earlier rather than later.

  • Oral piercings – oral piercings can have adverse affects on the health of your tongue, lips, cheeks and uvula. Oral problems associated with swallowed/aspirated jewelry, speech impairment, fractured teeth and gingival recession can occur.