With the promise of fewer health risks, e-cigarettes and vaping have become very popular over the last few years. The idea that there may be fewer health hazards is appealing to many users. However, many people don’t realize that the chemicals used in e-cigarettes can present a hazard for oral health. Vaping doesn’t have the tar a traditional cigarette contains, this is true. However, other aspects of vaping can cause harm to the teeth and gums.
What is vaping?
An e-cigarette, or electronic cigarette, heats a liquid called vape juice. When this specially formulated liquid is heated, it turns into a vapor. The liquid mixture includes water, flavorings, glycerin, and propylene glycol. Even though it doesn’t contain tar, many varieties do still contain nicotine.
Is vaping harmful to your mouth?
With the tar removed, there is at least one less chemical to damage your oral health. We don’t know yet if there are long-term negative effects from the other substances used in vaping. The research on vaping is still in the early stages. The safety of vaping is not yet known. However, dental professionals like Dr. Mark Caceres do know that the chemicals used to make vape juice can harm your dental health. Here are a few of the potential hazards.
Tooth decay and cavities are the results of bacteria settling into uneven tooth surfaces of the teeth, called pits and crevices. When you inhale the vapor from an e-cigarette, bacteria gets in the mouth. This bacteria can pose the same dangers as consuming foods high in sugar like soda and candy. The additional bacteria contribute to plaque building up on the teeth. You may find that you are more prone to cavities, especially if you do not maintain good oral hygiene habits.
Some users may find themselves suffering from dry mouth. This condition is caused by exposure to the propylene glycol in vape juice. Dry mouth is more than just annoying, and it can lead to more troubling oral health problems. The saliva in your mouth is a natural barrier against bacteria. Vaping introduces heat and chemicals that remove some of the natural moisture in the mouth, leaving your mouth vulnerable. When your mouth doesn’t have adequate saliva, it’s easier for tooth decay to occur, meaning you’ll likely have more cavities. Other problems associated with dry mouth include sores inside the mouth and chronic bad breath.
Gum Disease and Vaping
Having more bacteria in the mouth can negatively affect your gum health. Vaping may harm your gums directly, especially if you are sensitive to the chemicals in vape juice. The chemicals can irritate or inflame gums. If it gets too severe, they may start to bleed, recede, or to develop pockets. These are all some of the early signs of gum disease.
Having a wide variety of available flavorings is appealing to vaper users. You might have noticed that vape juice puts off a sweet smell. This sweet aroma is caused by the flavorings, which have a similar effect of candy on the teeth. The flavorings can have identical properties as candy and drinks filled with sugars. This, unfortunately, can increase the chances of cavities and tooth decay.
If You Choose To Use E-Cigarettes
There are still a number of studies considering the harmful effects of vaping on oral health. Even though there may be fewer health risks associated with vaping, there are still hazards. It’s important to know the risks you are taking to your physical and oral health. Your Marietta, GA dental team offers these tips for lessening the dangers posed to your oral health should you choose to vape.
- Choose vape juice that doesn’t contain nicotine.
- Drink lots of water to replace the moisture removed by vaping.
- Maintain good oral habits like brushing and flossing.
- Keep your regular dental checkups.
If you have questions about vaping and your oral health, please call us, Dr. Mark Caceres, your Marietta, GA dentist who is eager to answer your questions. Schedule your next exam today!