When e-cigarettes first arrived on the market, they were said to be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes. However, it has become more and more obvious that this isn’t the case, to the point where the CDC and other agencies have begun investigating the connection between vaping and lung injury. Sadly, your lungs aren’t the only part of your body at risk; e-cigarettes pose a threat to your smile as well. Read on to learn more about the devastating effect vaping can have on your teeth.
WHAT DOES VAPING DO TO YOUR TEETH AND GUMS?
While vaping has only been researched for a short time, there’s already plenty of evidence showing that it has an impact on your oral health. These effects include:
- Higher Bacteria Levels: A recent peer-reviewed study shows that patients that use e-cigarettes tend to have more harmful bacteria in their mouths, thus putting them at higher risk for cavities and gum disease.
- Dry Mouth: Some of the liquids used in vaping, such as propylene glycol, can dry out the mouth and decrease saliva levels. Saliva is important for cleaning your teeth and gums; without it, you could develop tooth decay and bad breath.
- Gum Inflammation: E-cigarettes could inflame the gum tissues, which is associated with gum disease.
- Cell Death: It’s been found that vaping might damage the DNA of the cells in your mouth, causing them to age faster and die sooner. Cell death could be tied to tooth loss, bone loss in your jaw, and various other oral health issues.
IS VAPING LESS HARMFUL TO YOUR ORAL HEALTH THAN CIGARETTES?
While the makers of e-cigarettes have claimed they’re less harmful than regular cigarettes, in truth the effects of vaping seem to be similar to the effects of traditional smoking. This is especially the case for a vape juice that contains nicotine, as it can make dry mouth and plaque accumulation on the teeth and gums even worse. Research still needs to be done to fully understand the effects of vaping, but everything so far suggests that it’s just as dangerous to your pearly whites.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR TEETH IF YOU VAPE?
The best way to avoid the harmful effects of vaping is to stop using e-cigarettes altogether. However, if you do continue to vape, you can try to protect your oral health by:
- Only using nicotine-free juices
- Drink water after vaping to avoid dry mouth
- Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily to prevent bacteria buildup and promote healthier gums.
- Visit your dentist in Austin every six months; you may need to see them more often if you already have gum disease.
If you or someone you love uses e-cigarettes, be on the lookout for oral health problems so that they can be treated as soon as possible. And if you don’t vape, don’t start; it may be the best thing you can do to keep your grin in good shape!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Hector Carlos Tijerina was born in Texas and received his doctorate from the Baylor College of Dentistry. He loves getting to know new patients and teaching them about their oral health. At his Austin practice, Parkfield Family Dental, he offers periodontal therapy to treat gum disease as well as high-quality preventive care. If you have concerns about the effects of vaping on your smile, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Tijerina by visiting his website or calling (512) 213-6778.