Hooked on Hookahs?
Smoking is dangerous not only to your oral health but to your overall health.”
Our Sacramento dentists have presented the effects of smoking and chewing tobacco, as well as the controversy around e-cigarettes, in past articles from the Sacramento Dentistry Group. To add to the discussion let’s talk about hookahs, or water pipes, and dental health. Smoking water pipes is actually more common in the US than one might think — about two million people smoke water pipes on a regular basis and it is indeed hazardous to their dental health! Research published by the American Dental Association warns that using a hookah or water pipe contributes to gum disease, increased oral cancer risk and complications with dry socket after extractions.
Water pipe smoking is nothing new, originating hundreds of years ago in India, and hookah cafes have now become a common sight in the United States. A few are scattered throughout the Sacramento area, and tobacco flavors like cherry or vanilla attract younger people. A water pipe works by heating up the tobacco and then cooling it down as it passes through the water chamber of the pipe before inhalation through a long hose with a mouthpiece. Because the tobacco is “cooled down,” a user inhales more smoke and thus feels the effects of the nicotine more quickly and intensely. Combined with the time it takes for a hookah session (about an hour), the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2005 advisory equates using a water pipe to smoking 100 cigarettes! The Centers for Disease Control suggest that a hookah session is similar to even more cigarettes — upwards of 150! This is why Dr. Michael J. Glick, DMD says: “Whether you are smoking a cigarette, a cigar, or tobacco from a water pipe, smoking is dangerous not only to your oral health but to your overall health.”
The Sacramento Dentistry Group wants the best health for our patients, so we encourage them to avoid tobacco products. While we certainly never turn away tobacco users from our practice, and serve them equally well, we do see evidence that their habit harms their dental health. So following the principle of informing our patients about the consequences of their actions, it is absolutely essential that our clients understand the risks involved in tobacco use in all its forms.