Recently, vaping and electronic cigarettes have become more popular. The popularity stems partially from the promise of fewer health risks than regular cigarettes. But most people do not consider the negative effect vaping can present to oral health. It is true that vaping doesn’t have tar like cigarettes, but other aspects of vaping can present dangers to the gums and teeth.
What is in an E-Cigarette?
An e-cigarette has a heating device that heats a liquid called vape juice. When the vape juice is heated, it turns into vapor which is inhaled. The liquid is a mixture of flavorings, glycerin, propylene glycol, and water. The good thing is that vape juice doesn’t contain tar, like cigarettes, but most of them contain nicotine.
Is it safe to Vape?
Without the tar, at least one chemical that can harm oral health has been removed. Yet, the research to determine if the other substances in vape juice are safe is still in the early stages. We do not know yet how safe they may be. Our San Bruno dental team does know, though, that some of the chemicals in vape juice can have adverse effects on oral health. Here are some of the potential hazards.
When bacteria settle into cracks and pits in the teeth, it can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Inhaling the vapor produced by the e-cigarette allows bacteria in the mouth. This has the same effect as eating sticky, sweet foods. They all contribute to the buildup of plaque. Users often find they are more prone to cavities, especially if good oral hygiene is not maintained.
Many users experience dry mouth due to the propylene glycol used in vape juice, as it tends to reduce the mouth’s natural supply of saliva. In the mouth, saliva acts as a natural barrier against bacteria. The chemicals and heat of vaping take away some of this protective moisture. When saliva is lacking, it’s easier to develop cavities and suffer tooth decay. Other side effects from dry mouth include painful sores erupting in the mouth and chronic bad breath.
Vaping and Periodontal Disease
The combination of dry mouth and extra bacteria in the mouth can adversely impact your gum health. For those who are sensitive to the chemicals used in the vape juice, it can mean more than sores in the mouth. The chemicals can cause irritation and inflammation of the gums. In severe cases, the gums may bleed, recede, or develop pockets. These are all signs of gum disease.
One of the things that has made vaping gain popularity is the wide variety of flavors to choose from. Many notice the sweet aroma coming from e-cigarettes. This comes from the flavoring used in vape juice. These sweet flavorings have the same properties as sugar-loaded candy and drinks. The problem is they also have the same negative effect on the teeth and increase your chances of cavities and tooth decay.
Choosing to Vape
The studies being done to determine what impact vaping may have on oral health are just getting started. Even though vaping may not be quite as dangerous to your health as a regular cigarette, they can still pose some hazards. It’s important to know the risk vaping poses to both your physical and oral health. The Simply Dentistry team offers a few tips to help you lessen the dangers vaping poses to your oral health.
- Avoid using vape juice that includes nicotine.
- Drink lots of water to help replace moisture lost in the mouth during vaping.
- Maintain good oral hygiene like brushing and flossing daily.
- Visit Simply dentistry for regular checkups and cleanings.
Please call us if you have any questions about vaping and your oral health. Dr. Dustin Lee will gladly answer your questions about your oral health.