Is Vaping Bad for Your Oral Health?
Vaping is a modern alternative to cigarette smoking and is especially popular with youths. Vapes, e-cigarettes or mods are electronic devices that produce aerosols that are inhaled by the user. If you’ve ever walked down the street and been hit by a waft of cotton candy, you’ve most likely encountered a vaper.
It has been well-known for a long time that cigarettes affect oral health. Mouth decay and certain types of cancers are common side effects of chronic smoking. Vaping, in contrast, seems clean and risk-free. Make no mistake, vaping should not be given the green light just yet. Since vaping is a relatively new innovation, there’s a lot we still don’t know about its negative effects. Below are some of the repercussions we are currently aware of.
Vaping dries out a mouth quickly. The heat, aerosol by-product and repetitive motions all deplete moisture, leading to a sub-optimal oral health environment.
A dry mouth allows bacteria to fester inside. Our mouths naturally contain bacteria, and some bacteria are needed for a healthy biome. Too much bacteria, or the wrong kind of bacteria, could lead to health issues. The buildup of bacteria could cause tooth decay (cavities), gum disease and bad breath.
Drinking plenty of water and sucking on sugar-free hard candies are good ways of replenishing moisture inside the mouth. If you’re going to vape, make sure to hydrate simultaneously.
Nicotine is an ingredient in many vape formulas. If someone is looking to quit cigarette smoking, they may opt for a vape with nicotine to ease the transition.
Nicotine is damaging to the oral tissues. Weakened oral tissues are more prone to decay and infection. Someone who takes in nicotine is also at a statistically higher risk for gum diseases, such as periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Another side effect of nicotine consumption is reduced circulation to the oral tissues. Reduced circulation also compromises the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria. This can lead to tooth loss, infection, cavities and gum disease over time.
There is little to no regulation over the production of e-cigarettes or vapes, despite their rising popularity. This is concerning because some of the metals in vapes may be toxic. More research is needed to confirm the effects of vaping on oral health. Until conclusive research is provided, vape with caution.
As you can see, vaping is not risk-free. Vapes contain nicotine, which in addition to being highly addictive can directly damage the tissues of the mouth. The act of vaping itself can dry out the mouth and provide ideal breeding grounds for bacteria.
The possibility of encountering negative side effects increases the longer you vape. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s time to book a dentist appointment:
- Red and irritated gums that bleed when flossed
- Sour smelling breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Tender gums
- Gum recession
Top Tips For Vapers
If you’re going to vape, be sure to visit your dentist twice annually. Your dentist will give your mouth the deep clean it needs, and they’ll be able to inform you if there’s any tooth or gum decay. Issues like gum recession are hard to spot at home. It takes a trained eye to look over your mouth, using professional tools to perform an accurate assessment.
Your dentist will be able to spot side effects before they have a chance to become a serious problem. It’s better to take an attitude of prevention rather than correction. Some oral health issues have no solution once the damage has been done.
Cigarettes are bad for oral health, no doubt about that. The thing is, vapes aren’t perfect either. They can cause such issues as dry mouth, tooth decay, gum disease and bacterial buildup. Vape users, especially youths, need to know the risks.
Dental professionals advise against smoking and vaping. Neither habit will do any favours to your oral health. If you do make the personal choice to vape, make sure to keep a bi-annual dental checkup schedule. That will make it much easier to monitor your dental health and will help prevent problems before they arise. In the meantime, maintain a diligent at-home dental routine, drink plenty of water and look for nicotine-free vape formulas.
Vaping may be the cool new thing to do, but your teeth may not think so! Young people may be surprised to learn all the health risks of vaping, especially since it is touted as the “harmless” alternative to smoking. If you or someone you know vapes, look for the medical facts surrounding the habit. You’ll be in a much better place to make informed health decisions and preserve your beautiful smile.
Looking for an oral health partner? Dawson Dental provides premier dental clinics in Toronto and throughout the GTA. Make an appointment to visit our top-rated clinicians by calling us at 1- 855-337-2999 or visit our contact page here.