The use of e-cigarettes and vaping have become popular over the last few years. One reason its popularity has grown so rapidly is that vaping appears to pose fewer health risks than traditional cigarettes. While this may seem beneficial for your health, it’s important to understand the dangers vaping might pose for your oral health. Vaping liquid doesn’t contain the tar a cigarette has, but other aspects are still dangerous to your teeth and gums.
What is in an e-cigarette?
An e-cigarette works by heating a liquid called vape juice. When it reaches a certain temperature, it turns into vapor. This vapor is breathed in similar to smoking a cigarette. The vape juice is comprised of several ingredients including, water, glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavorings. Even though this liquid doesn’t contain tar, like a regular cigarette, most of them do contain nicotine.
How safe is vaping for your mouth?
Removing the tar at least takes away one chemical that’s harmful to your oral health. The research to determine if there are any long-term effects associated with vaping is still ongoing. It’s not certain how safe e-cigarettes are presently. Dental professionals at Roberson Dental do recognize, though, that some of the chemicals used in vape juice have adverse effects on oral health. Users should be aware of some of the potential hazards.
Bacteria in the mouth tend to find their way into the crevices, cracks, and pits on the tooth surface. This leads to tooth decay and cavities. Inhaling the vapors from an e-cigarette introduces bacteria into the mouth. The result is about the same as eating sticky, sweet foods, and these additional bacteria contribute to the buildup of plaque. Many times users find they are more prone to cavities, especially if they do not maintain good oral hygiene.
Some users experience dry mouth because of the propylene glycol. At first, dry mouth may seem just annoying. However, it can lead to several other more serious oral health conditions. Your saliva is a natural barrier fighting off bacteria in the mouth. When vaping, the heat and chemicals dry out the mouth, and moisture is lost. When saliva is lacking, it’s easier for cavities and tooth decay to form. Other possible side effects of dry mouth might include painful sores in the mouth or chronic bad breath.
Gum Disease and Vaping
Dry mouth and bacteria can harm your gums. But just vaping itself may pose a hazard to the gum tissue. This is especially true if the user has a sensitivity to the chemicals used to make vape juice. The chemicals can inflame and irritate the gums. In severe cases, the gums may bleed, recede, or form pockets, all of which are signs of gum disease.
The wide assortment of flavorings available helps make vaping popular. Sometimes the vapor from an e-cigarette smells sweet. This is because the flavorings used in vape juice have the same properties as sugary candy and drinks. Unfortunately, they also have the same unwanted and negative effect on the teeth and increase the risks of cavities and tooth decay.
For Those Who Choose to Vape
Studies are still underway to determine the severity of the impact of vaping on oral health. Even though vaping is not as harmful as a regular cigarette, there are still some hazards. Those who choose to vape should be aware of the risks to their physical and oral health. Here are a few tips from Dr. Roberson to help lessen the dangers posed to your oral health.
- Purchase vape juice that does not contain nicotine.
- Drink more water to help prevent dry mouth.
- Maintain good oral hygiene like daily brushing and flossing.
- See your Birmingham dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about vaping and oral health. We are happy to help you find the answers you need.