Although vaping and e-cigarette devices have become increasingly trendy over the past few years, vaping has also taken center stage as the leading public health issue in the news. So far this year over 800 hospitalizations and 12 deaths have been associated with vaping, leading to nation-wide vaping bans. While vaping is new and still being studied for its long-term effects, vaping can have similar effects on your oral health as cigarettes; thus, it is not a safer alternative.
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, from a vape or e-cigarette device into the lungs and exhaling. The aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that is inhaled contains varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.
How does vaping affect your oral health?
Dries out your mouth
Some e-cigarette liquids contain propylene glycole, which can cause mouth dryness. In addition, like cigarettes, most vapes and e-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the body that prevents your body from producing saliva. Without enough saliva, your mouth can become susceptible to bacterial buildup and dry mouth, which puts the teeth at risk of decay.
Kills healthy gum tissue
Although e-cigarettes do not contain tar, they contain nicotine, like regular cigarettes, which contributes to tooth discoloration, bad breath, and development of gingivitis. This is because nicotine reduces the amount of blood flow through the veins. Without sufficient blood flow, your gums cannot get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. This can eventually lead to the death of the gum tissue and gum recession.
Worsens teeth grinding (bruxism)
Nicotine, which is found in vaping and e-cigarette devices, acts as a stimulant and may cause you to grind your teeth or make existing teeth grinding (bruxism) worse. Bruxism is when you regularly grind and clench your teeth, which happens commonly while sleeping. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to dental attrition, wear away the enamel, and cause jaw pain, headaches, and tooth loss.
When should you see a dentist?
More studies need to be done to pinpoint the exact ways in which vaping damages teeth. One thing is for sure, vaping is not a safer alternative to cigarettes. You should see a dentist if you experience any of the following:
- bleeding gums
- tooth sensitivity
- dry mouth
- loose teeth
- mouth sores
- receding gums
To schedule a visit, call our office (925) 705-7093 or schedule a consultation online.