Hookahs, Water Pipes & Your Teeth

Hookah bars and smoking-style cafes are becoming a little more popular around college campuses, but these smoking lounges can be extremely damaging to your teeth and oral health. According to research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, waterpipe or hookah smoking has been associated with:

  • Gum disease
  • Mouth cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Dry sockets
  • Stained teeth
  • Lung cancer and heart disease

More than 2 million Americans report smoking out of a hookah or waterpipe, but a lot of them believe that they are safer than traditional cigarettes because smoke inhaled through a hookah is less concentrated than from a cigarette. That said, a cigarette is often finished in a couple of minutes, while hookah sessions can last around an hour, meaning you’re taking a lot more inhalations of hookah than you would a small cigarette. That’s not to say that one is better than the other, only that they both pose significant risks for your mouth.

Waterpipes and Your Oral Health

One concerning issue with waterpipes and hookahs is that they tend to attract a younger crowd. Since special flavored tobacco can be used, teens may be drawn to the strawberry, chai, or mint flavors that hookah bars offer. Research found that roughly 1 in 3 teens between the ages of 13 and 15 have tried hookah, as have 20 percent of college students. Another reason it’s attractive is that there aren’t always age restrictions on the ability to purchase the necessary supplies.

As if you needed any more reasons why waterpipes and hookahs aren’t great for your oral and overall health, the World Health Organization reports that one waterpipe session can be the equivalent of smoking 100 cigarettes. It may seem cleaner and cooler than smoking a cigarette, but it can cause plenty of problems for your mouth and teeth, so try to avoid the habit at all costs.

We understand the allure that a social hookah session can bring, but your teeth need to last you a lifetime, so don’t jeopardize their health by overindulging with hookahs or waterpipes. There are plenty of other social activities that don’t negatively affect your oral health, so suggest some alternatives if some of your friends want to hookah. And as always, make sure you are regularly brushing your teeth, flossing, and visiting your dentist for annual checkups. We want to ensure that your teeth stay strong and white for decades to come, so start by making smart decisions when it comes to tobacco.

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