Vaping has become increasingly popular in recent years, with millions of people around the world using e-cigarettes. While vaping is often seen as a safer alternative to smoking and other tobacco products, it can still have a negative impact on your teeth.
An alarming number of teens and adults alike are drawn to vaping because of the misconception that it is a harmless habit. Unfortunately, vaping can cause permanent damage to gums and risk tooth loss.
Vaping is another word for the use of e-cigarettes. These battery-powered devices heat up liquid which typically contains nicotine or marijuana concentrates or simply flavoring without a drug. Heat turns the liquid to vapor, and the user inhales the vapor from the e-cigarette through the mouth and into the lungs.
While it does appear that vaping may be less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes or chewing tobacco, it is pretty clear that vaping is not safe and can be detrimental to your health in a number of ways.
How Vaping Affects Your Oral Health
Even if e-cigarettes are different from smoking cigarettes, you are still inhaling chemicals – including nicotine – through your mouth. And, similar to the smoke generated by a cigarette burning, the vapor from e-cigarettes also comes into contact with your teeth and gums. Let’s talk a bit more about the results this has on your oral health.
Vaping Harms Gum Health
Nicotine, whether delivered through vaping, chewing, or smoking, constricts blood vessels. This means a decreased blood supply to gum tissue, which can result in difficulty getting oxygen and nutrients to this important tissue as well as trouble healing. These problems can increase your risk for gum disease, which often results in tooth loss.
Furthermore, vaping can irritate the gums and lining of the mouth, which can lead to mouth sores, gum recession, and tooth sensitivity.
How Vaping Affects Teeth
Speaking of your teeth, in addition to the potential tooth loss that can result from advanced gum disease, vaping can also affect teeth more directly in a number of ways. First, the chemicals in e-cigarettes can stain your teeth yellow or brown. And while this is primarily a cosmetic concern, the look of your teeth can have an impact on your well-being.
Moreover, vaping can cause your mouth to become dry, which can make it more difficult to fight off cavities. Saliva naturally washes away debris and has an antibacterial effect, protecting teeth from decay.
Furthermore, certain chemicals contained in vaping fluids can break down into acids that damage enamel. Other chemicals that contribute to flavorings are sticky and sweet. They make vaping appealing but can cause four times as many microbes to stick to teeth, doubling the growth of biofilm and increasing the potential for decay.
Lastly, nicotine can also have a stimulatory effect, which has the potential to trigger tooth grinding and can also wear away tooth enamel.
Because vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, there is not a lot of long-term data on the link between e-cigarettes and cancer. However, vaping has been linked to oral as well as other cancers. And while your risk of cancer from vaping appears to be lower than with traditional cigarettes, the risk is still significantly higher than it is for those who don’t vape or smoke.
How to Protect Your Teeth and Health
Vaping can negatively impact your teeth and gums and the best way to protect your health is to quit smoking, vaping, and any other nicotine or tobacco use. However, if you choose to vape as a stepping stone to quitting smoking, there can be some benefits since e-cigarettes may be less dangerous.
If you vape, remember it is important to take steps to protect your oral health. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, using a fluoride toothpaste, and seeing your dentist regularly are all important steps you can take to protect your teeth from the harmful effects of vaping.
If you are concerned about the impact of vaping on your teeth, give us a call. We can provide you with more information about the risks of vaping and how to protect your oral health, as well as resources to help you quit smoking or vaping.