Smoking a hookah pipe in bars and at home is a new trend in the United States. While smoking hookahs has been common in Middle Eastern countries for hundreds of years, only recently has the social habit infiltrated Western culture.
The common belief is that smoking a hookah isn’t as bad for your overall health and your teeth as smoking cigarettes. But is this accurate?
How Does a Hookah Work?
Actually, what you are really smoking is shisha, a flavored tobacco used in hookahs. Hookah is the name for the pipe. It’s also called a water pipe.
A hookah has separate chambers for the water and the tobacco, which is heated using coals. You inhale through a long, flexible tube, and the smoke passes through the water chamber on its way out, cooling it for inhalation.
Cigarettes vs. Hookahs: Which Is Worse?
One of the most pervasive myths about smoking hookah is that the water filters out all the toxins from the smoke, making it safer than cigarettes. This is not true. It’s also commonly believed that since shisha is flavored with fruit, it must be healthier. This is also false.
The water in the vase chamber doesn’t filter the smoke you inhale from a hookah. Also, shisha contains just as much tobacco as a cigarette. In fact, you may even take in more nicotine using a hookah because of the length of time spent sitting around the pipe.
When you smoke a hookah, you are exposing yourself to the same risks as you would if you smoked a cigarette. When you indulge on a regular basis, you have an increased chance of developing lung cancer, oral cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. You are also at risk of becoming dependent on tobacco.
Periodontal Disease: It’s a Condition You Want to Avoid
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, hookah smokers are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Their studies show that smoking cigarettes makes it 3.8 times more likely that you will develop periodontal disease. But if you smoke a hookah, you are 5 times more likely to develop the condition.
Periodontal disease is characterized by swollen, inflamed, bleeding gums. The infection can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
Get Regular Dental Exams
Avoiding tobacco in all its many forms is one step, but that’s not all that is required if you want to keep your teeth healthy. It is extremely important to visit your dentist once every six months for an in-depth cleaning.
When you stick to a regular dental cleaning schedule, tartar buildup does not have a chance to lead to cavities and infection. Your dentist will spot decay before it compounds into a larger, more painful and more expensive condition to fix.
Make an appointment with Oak Hills Dentistry today, and remember: Your teeth will thank you if you quit smoking hookahs.