There’s a new smoking craze called vaping or Juuling, and you’ve probably heard about it. We all know that smoking cigarettes damages your health, but do electronic nicotine delivery systems or electronic cigarettes have the same effect on your dental health?
The vaping process works by converting e-liquid into an aerosol that can be inhaled through battery-operated heating components. Smoking e-cigarettes, which contain chemicals, flavoring, and sometimes nicotine, has been linked to respiratory issues and cancer. E-cigarettes are also linked to oral health problems, including staining teeth, weakened gums, and tooth decay. Discover how vaping impacts your overall health and how to maintain a healthy smile if vaping is your new nicotine habit!
The Oral Health Effects of Vaping
Dental professionals have reported an increase in tooth decay and enamel erosion due to the increasing popularity of vaping. Unfortunately, switching from smoking to vaping does not result in healthier results. The health risks associated with vaping may be equal to or greater than those associated with smoking. The long-term effects of vaping on oral health include:
- Reduced oxygen and blood flow;
- Yellow teeth;
- Gum disease;
- Permanent gum damage;
- Tooth loss;
- Enamel wear and soft tissue damage;
- Bad breath.
Although vaping can stain your teeth, its other side effects are generally much worse. You should seek medical attention if any of your vaping side effects become unbearable.
#1: Does Vaping Stain Teeth?
Electronic cigarettes and conventional cigarettes both contain nicotine, which causes yellow teeth. Even though e-cigarettes have a much lower nicotine concentration, they can still discolor teeth and damage gums. There is no doubt that nicotine stains teeth yellow and can eventually lead to their loss.
#2: Vaping Allows the Proliferation of Excess Bacteria
An analysis conducted in 2018 found that teeth exposed to electronic cigarette aerosol have an increased number of bacteria, particularly in their crevices and pits. Oral health problems caused by excess bacteria include:
- Gum disease;
- Tooth decay;
- Discolored teeth;
Some ingredients in e-liquid, including vegetable glycerin and flavorings, are alleged to cause bacterial buildup, making teeth vulnerable to disease.
#3: You Will Experience Dry Mouth
Propylene glycol, a common ingredient in e-cigarette base liquids, can cause dry mouth. These liquids irritate soft tissues and cause mouth dryness by breaking down into acids. A dry mouth can cause bad breath, mouth sores, cavities, and decay if it becomes consistent and long-lasting. Besides being uncomfortable, it’s quite a hassle.
#4: Reduced Oxygen and Blood Flow
Even though e-cigarettes release lower concentrations of nicotine than cigarettes, they can still cause gum tissue failure and disease. This is because nicotine decreases tissue turnover by decreasing blood flow to gum tissue, affecting overall health and cell function. In addition, gum disease and tooth decay are more likely to develop once the gums are damaged.
Moreover, nicotine causes restricted blood flow in the gums, affecting the mouth’s natural ability to fight infection and replenish connective tissue. In 2016, a study suggested that e-cigarettes trigger inflammation in gum tissues. It is also more likely that various periodontal diseases will develop due to long-term gum inflammation.
#5: Tooth Decay
It is known that propylene glycol, an ingredient in certain vape juices, dehydrates the mouth and takes away essential saliva. If teeth do not receive saliva to protect them from the damaging bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, decay will occur.
Additionally, teens who commonly use e-cigarettes are likely to try to alleviate their dry mouth by drinking sugary liquids like soda or energy drinks. Unfortunately, these drinks contain sugar, which exacerbates the damage caused by propylene glycol by feeding bacteria and acids that further destroy tooth enamel.
Do Different Vaping Devices Affect Our Teeth in Different Ways?
Every vaping device affects your teeth.
An electronic cigarette such as Juuling is smaller and more inconspicuous, explicitly designed by a vape brand. As with other e-cigarettes, Juuling e-liquid contains nicotine, resulting in the same unsavory effects.
It has been suggested, however, that e-cigarette flavorings might affect the way vaping affects our teeth. Researchers found in a 2014 in vivo study that most e-juice flavors reduce the number of healthy cells found in connective mouth tissues. Among all the flavors tested, menthol caused the most damage to oral cells.
Another study published in 2018 suggested flavored e-cigarette aerosol has the same properties as high-sucrose candy and drinks, which increases the risk of cavities. A common sweetening ingredient is vegetable glycerine. The effect, however, is that four times more bacteria stick to teeth, and twice as much biofilm grows. Furthermore, it softens the tooth enamel by 27%, allowing for rampant decay, gum infections, and loosening of teeth.
Compared to tobacco products, vaping is an unstudied and relatively young alternative. Since e-cigarettes haven’t been around for years, researchers haven’t been able to study their effects or properties. Until more research is conducted, studies like the ones above should be taken with a grain of salt.
Which Substances Cause Havoc on Your Teeth?
E-cigarette fluid contains various addictive chemicals, so it is difficult to figure out what is in them. Although the law requires the submission of ingredient lists to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many manufacturers do not list their ingredients on their packaging.
There are three known e-liquid ingredients to avoid due to their negative side effects on oral health. Consider avoiding:
- Propylene glycol;
In addition, flavored e-liquids cause more gum inflammation than non-flavored liquids. You may be able to reduce your overall risk of nasty side effects by limiting or eliminating these ingredients.
Is Vaping As Harmful for Your Teeth As Traditional Cigarettes?
In order to make an informed conclusion regarding the effectiveness of vaping over traditional cigarettes, researchers will need to collect additional evidence over the next couple of years. We know, however, that vaping is not risk-free.
The bottom line is that vaping does not contain tar, nor is it required to contain nicotine. Only time will tell if vaping is truly safer than smoking cigarettes without tooth discoloration and gum disease-causing factors. Despite the inconclusive evidence, dental experts believe that patients who vape should maintain regular dental examinations and oral health care routines to maintain their dental health.
How to Minimize the Adverse Effects of Vaping
You can reduce your risk of certain side effects by taking some steps to reduce the harmful effects of long-term vaping. Vapers should take more care of their oral health than ever before:
- The first thing you should do is limit your intake of nicotine. Keep your teeth and gums healthy by vaping only nicotine-free or low-nicotine juices.
- The second thing you should do after vaping is to drink water. Keeping your mouth hydrated after each vape can prevent bad breath and mouth dryness.
- As a third step, brush your teeth twice a day. Plaque removal through brushing can prevent cavities and promote healthy gums.
- The fourth step is to floss before bed to keep your gums healthy and remove plaque.
- Fifth, make sure you visit your dentist regularly. It is advisable to make a dental appointment at least every six months for a cleaning and consultation. Regular cleanings will help detect any underlying health conditions early and treat them effectively.
When is It Time to Seek Medical Help?
Certain symptoms indicate an underlying dental health problem. Contact a dentist or other oral healthcare provider as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Gums that are bleeding or inflamed;
- Sensitivity to temperature changes;
- A frequent feeling of dry mouth;
- Loose teeth;
- Sores or ulcers in the mouth that do not heal;
- Pain in the mouth or teeth;
- Gum recession.
Seek emergency medical attention if any of the above symptoms are accompanied by a fever or swelling in your face or neck.
Let Patuxent Orthodontics Help You with Your Orthodontic Needs!
Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if you think that orthodontic treatment may be a solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic treatment or simply have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today to book a free consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in California, Lexington Park, and Great Mills and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in MD, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!