What Vaping is Doing to Your Teeth
Millions of people have quit smoking traditional cigarettes recently, turning to vaping to get their nicotine hit. Unfortunately, although vaping is considered less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, it is not without risks. Here are some ways vaping can impact your oral health. Another important consideration is that the long-term risks and health complications associated with vaping are unknown. There aren’t any studies to show how vaping affects the hard tissues such as the surrounding alveolar bone and teeth or gingival tissues.
Vaping dries out the mouth, as the chemicals in e-cigarettes reduce saliva production. Saliva is crucial in maintaining oral health by neutralizing acids, washing away food particles, and protecting against tooth decay and gum disease. Dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities, bad breath, and other oral health issues. This persistent dry mouth will remain as long as vaping continues, especially as one vapes all day long. The damaging effects of dry mouth are often not associated with symptoms which can slowly deteriorate overall oral-health.
Increased Risk of Gum Disease
Studies suggest that vaping may contribute to an increased risk of gum disease (periodontitis). The nicotine in e-cigarettes can affect blood flow to the gums, making it easier for bacteria to thrive and leading to gum inflammation and infection. Harmful gram-negative bacteria thrive in this environment with reduced blood flow to the gingival tissues. Gum disease will start out as gingivitis and progress to periodontitis as the disease process continues eroding the surrounding bone levels.
Vaping exposes your teeth to various chemicals, including nicotine and flavoring agents, which may erode tooth enamel over time. Weakened enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity, making your teeth more susceptible to pain and damage. The harsh chemicals in vaping pods are largely unregulated and contain several chemicals known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing). Weakened enamel will eventually expose the underlying dentin where nerve endings live causing painful and tender teeth.
Oral Lesions & Increased Risk of Oral Cancer
Vaping can cause irritation and the development of oral lesions, manifesting as sores, ulcers, or white patches in the mouth. These lesions can be uncomfortable and may increase the risk of infection. Along with pain, oral lesions may be pre-cancerous and cause progression of unregulated cell division. The only way to eliminate this potentially cancerous risk factor is to stop vaping all together. While the risk is somewhat lower than with traditional smoking, vaping still increases the risk of oral cancer. Some e-cigarette liquids contain carcinogenic substances, and the long-term effects of vaping on oral cancer risk are not yet fully understood. Talk to Forcioli Family Dentistry and Dr. Forcioli can help you get a game plan in place to quit smoking or vaping.
Most e-cigarettes contain compounds that lead to teeth staining. The tar and nicotine in vaping products can cause teeth to become discolored over time, like the staining caused by smoking. Until you quit vaping, your teeth will continue discoloring, even after professional teeth whitening. Nobody likes the appearance of stained teeth and it will only get worse with time. This will also significantly minimize the effects of at home or professional whitening.
Give Up Vaping for Better Oral Health
If possible, Dr. Forcioli recommends patients quit vaping to minimize damage to their teeth and oral cavity. If you can’t stop, be sure to take a few extra steps to protect your teeth and gums from the damage caused by vaping:
- Reduce the amount of vaping if you can’t quit. Even reducing the amount you vape can be beneficial, although stopping is best.
- Make sure you floss daily, brush twice daily, and visit us for regular checkups and professional teeth cleaning to remove surface stains.
- Make sure you are hydrated. The drier your mouth, the less saliva is available to wash away sugars and acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Drinking lots of water also helps keep your breath fresh.
- Make sure you tell us you are vaping so that we can monitor your oral health carefully and note any changes that could indicate an oral health issue.
If possible, quit vaping. It’s as simple as that. While nicotine, tar, and other substances in a vaporizer may not have the same effect as smoking cigarettes, they still damage your teeth, contribute to bad breath, and can lead to serious health issues, including cancer.
If you would like advice on how to quit vaping, contact our office at Lombard IL Cosmetic Dentistry Office Phone Number 630-627-1495 for more information.
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