Many people are switching to vaping because they want to stop smoking cigarettes. However, studies have shown that vaping may not necessarily be healthier than cigarette smoking. The chemicals in e-cigarettes can be damaging to the body, including your teeth, gums and mouth. Here’s how vaping can negatively affect your oral health and what you can do if you’re experiencing dental issues.
Nicotine Increases the Risk of Gum Disease
Although different types of vape juice have varying levels of nicotine, they still contain the same nicotine you’d find in cigarettes. Nicotine is known to increase the risk of gum disease by restricting blood flow to your gums. This makes it harder for your gums to fight off infections and bacteria.
A study published in iScience confirmed that there is a definite link between vaping and gum disease1. It showed that as much as 43 percent of people who vape on a regular basis have gum disease! That’s a significant percentage that shouldn’t be ignored. If you suspect you may have gum disease, the best thing to do is get ahead of it before it gets worse. Consult your dental professional for the best ways to reverse the damage and prevent further complications.
Vaping and the Ability To Heal
Oral tissue has a tendency to heal more quickly than other tissues in the body. However, if you vape, the chemicals found in e-juice tend to impede your mouth’s ability to heal. According to a study published in The Brink from Boston University2, vaping can slow wound healing just as much as smoking cigarettes. By reducing blood flow and impeding circulation to the gums, vaping makes it harder for the mouth to repair damaged tissue.
As a result, gingivitis or gum inflammation can progress to periodontitis, minor irritation could lead to an infection, and you may experience tooth loss and other serious dental issues more easily than patients who don’t vape.
Vaping Is Damaging to Oral Health and the Whole Body
We already know that vaping can lead to gum disease in nearly half of the people who smoke e-cigarettes1. However, did you know that gum disease is a problem that doesn’t just affect your mouth? Your oral health can have a significant impact on your overall well-being.
If you have gum disease, you may be at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and respiratory infections. Also, if you’re pregnant, you may be more likely to go into pre-term labor if you suffer from gum disease.
Vape Juice Is Filled With Toxic Chemicals
Vaping is often advertised as a safer alternative because e-cigarettes have fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes also contain harmful chemicals that can affect your health, including:
This is a chemical used to add flavor and is usually safe to ingest. However, it is unsafe when it is heated and inhaled. This chemical has been linked to lung disease.
Benzene is an organic compound found in car exhaust and is present in e-cigarettes juice. Not only can this cause oral problems, but it has also been connected to certain forms of cancer, including leukemia.
3. Unsafe Levels of Heavy Metals
Chromium, lead, manganese and nickel are some of the heavy metals detected in e-cigarettes. The amount of these heavy metals in e-cigarettes is unsafe.
Vegetable Glycerin Causes Bacteria to Stick to Your Teeth
Vegetable glycerin is what makes the liquid in the e-cigarette sweet. Unfortunately, it can also cause bacteria to stick to the grooves of your teeth. Bacteria and plaque can mix and create an acid that destroys your enamel, which can eventually lead to sensitivity, tooth decay and tooth loss.
Vaping and Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a common problem that is associated with vaping. Propylene glycol is one of the many chemicals found in e-cigarettes that can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when the mouth does not produce enough saliva, which puts you at an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Dry mouth has also been linked to mouth sores and bad breath.
Irritation in the Mouth
Vaping can also irritate your mouth, especially if you have sensitive gums and teeth or have underlying conditions. Gum tenderness, redness and swelling are some of the problems that are linked to vaping. If you’re suffering from these symptoms, it may be time to reconsider the vaping option.
Lithium Batteries Can Overheat
Vaping is dangerous in other ways as well. Many e-cigarettes have lithium batteries, which have been known to explode and can cause significant damage to the mouth, face and other parts of the body. Battery explosions are more likely to occur if the e-cigarettes are not used properly.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Although you may think vaping is the only way you can stop smoking cigarettes, it’s worth it to look into other methods. Not only do you put your oral health at risk with vaping, but you could also harm your overall well-being. Talk to your healthcare professionals about other options that can help you quit for good.
If you are going to vape, it’s essential for you to practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist twice a year for preventative care. Bi-annual teeth cleanings, x-rays, and treatments will help keep your teeth healthy and strong. And if you do develop side effects or conditions due to vaping, they might be much easier to treat in the early stages.
If you’re ready to get your oral health back on track, contact our Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks or Carson City dentists to schedule an appointment today! We have several convenient locations, so you and your family can get quality dental care near you!
1 Pushalkar, S., Paul, B., Li, Q., Corby, P., Li, X., & Saxena, D. 26 February 2020. Electronic Cigarette Aerosol Modulates the Oral Microbiome and Increases Risk of Infection. Retrieved January 05, 2021 from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2020.100884
2 Rasdale, M., & McAlpine, K. 19 October 2018. Vaping Slows Wound Healing Just as Much as Smoking. Retrieved January 05, 2021, from http://www.bu.edu/articles/2018/vaping-slows-wound-healing/