While everyone knows that smoking tobacco can be extremely detrimental to our health, the effects on our health due to the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking are still widely unknown. Smoking tobacco increases your risks of developing oral cancer, gum disease, chronic bad breath, more dental plaque and more. There are many tools available to people who wish to stop smoking, such as nicotine gum, patches, and the popular and controversial substitute for smoking ‘vaping.’ Vaping is the inhalation of a vapor created by a vaping device. This vapor usually includes a mix of nicotine, glycerine, propylene glycol, flavouring and can include other chemicals and metals. The particles can also contain contaminants such as tin, nickel, aluminum, and formaldehydes. Some of the most popular of the devices are known as electronic-cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and vapes. In this article we will explore what we know about how vaping affects your teeth, gums and overall oral health and whether it truly is a healthier option.
How does Vaping affect your Oral Health?
There is still a lot of research being done on the long term effects of vaping as it is still relatively new. There is, however, already a great deal of research and knowledge about how nicotine affects the health of your mouth. Nicotine reduces blood flow, which affects every part of the body. Decreased blood flow in the mouth can lead to the death of gum tissue, which then can cause gum recession. Gums which have severe recession can lead to increased tooth sensitivity, higher risk of cavities and in some cases, tooth loss.
While not everyone who vapes will develop gum disease or an oral infection, it is important to know the risks related to vaping and the signs of a possible problem. Just as is the case with smoking tobacco, the longer you use a vape device, the bigger the possibility is that you will develop some kind of oral health issue.
What are the different ways Vaping can affect your Oral Health?
It is common for someone who vapes to develop one or several of the following issues:
Dry mouth – Propylene glycol increases the instances of dry mouth. If left untreated, dry mouth can cause bad breath, tooth decay and sores in the mouth.
● Tooth Decay – Some of the flavouring in certain vape aerosols contain as much sugar as candy and sugary sodas. These sugars can result in an increase of bacteria in crevices and pits of teeth which can ultimately lead to gum disease, tooth decay and cavities.
● Inflamed gums – Studies have shown that the chemicals contained in vape liquid can inflame and irritate gums, which can lead to serious gum disease.
● Death of mouth cells – Vape aerosols can actually damage your DNA and increase the speed of which cells age, ultimately causing the premature death of mouth cells.
● Teeth grinding – Nicotine is a muscle stimulant, and when you expose your body to it, it can cause you to clench or grind your teeth. This can lead to major tooth damage and other oral health problems.
● Oral thrush – Vaping can disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth and can lead to the overgrowth of yeast and other fungus in your mouth which can result in oral thrush. Thrush usually appears as thick white patches or patches of redness on the inside of the cheeks, lips as well as the tongue.
● General irritation – E-cigarettes can irritate your throat and mouth in general, and can lead to tender, swollen and red gums.
Do E-cigarettes cause Teeth Staining?
Despite all the other risks involved with using E-cigarettes, vaping is less likely to stain your teeth than tobacco cigarettes. This is because steam is ingested instead of tar. This means that vaping is very unlikely to cause yellowing of the teeth. That said, vaping can still have many negative effects on your teeth and oral health.
How can I care for my Teeth if I Vape?
If you do choose to use a vape or e-cigarette, it is important that you pay extra close attention to your oral health and practice exceptional oral hygiene. Some of the other things you can do are:
● Brushing and flossing: You should always brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, as well as flossing daily. Waiting at least 20 minutes after you vape before brushing is a good idea and can limit how much the enamel might be weakened.
● Drinking water and making healthy food choices: Increasing your daily water intake increases overall hydration and can lower the risks of other oral health problems. Choosing foods that are healthy and good for your teeth is also very important.
● Limiting or eliminating nicotine: Limiting or gradually reducing your use of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine will go a long way towards improving your oral health. Eliminating nicotine completely is the best way to be free of many dental concerns.
● Keep an eye on your mouth: Watch for signs of potential problems such as bleeding gums, chronic bad breath or other sources of pain or tenderness. These could indicate the presence of gum disease or other dental problems. If you experience any of these issues, it is best to see your dentist right away.
As always, practicing impeccable oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly for check ups and cleanings, are the best ways to maintain excellent oral health. While vaping may not be as hazardous to your teeth and gums as smoking tobacco is, it still comes with its fair share of risks. Eliminating vapes and e-cigarettes from your lifestyle altogether is the best option for preserving the health of your teeth and gums. However if you are struggling to stop vaping, limit your nicotine intake as much as possible and be sure to pay extra care and attention to your teeth and gums. If you have more questions about hope vaping affects your teeth and gums or would like to talk to our staff about how we can help to support your dental and oral health, contact our Guelph Dentist Office today and we will be happy to connect with you!