November 6, 2020
Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?
In the last few years, the arrival of vaping has brought with it a number of questions as well as unrelenting controversy. First introduced as a “healthier alternative to smoking,” vaping was marketed to current cigarette smokers and even younger teens and college-aged students alike.
Scientists and doctors are still uncertain about the negative effects vaping can have over time on a person’s lungs. One thing we do know is that your teeth are being compromised every time you choose to vape.
What is vaping?
Vaping is utilizing an electronic cigarette that mimics that of smoking tobacco. The liquid consists of nicotine, a flavor (blueberry, vanilla, etc.), and chemicals such as propylene glycol, heavy metals, and carcinogens.
The nicotine is heated from the liquid chamber and travels through the electronic cigarette to the smoker.
The ritual remains very much the same as traditional smoking, but vaping can also be cheaper and draws in those wanting a most “cost-effective” fix.
How does vaping affect your teeth and oral health?
While the jury is still out on the long-term effects on one’s lungs, we are already able to see the negative impact vaping has on teeth and oral health. Take a seat because the list is long…
- Dry Mouth – The various chemicals contained in the vaping liquid, such as propylene glycol, can strip the mouth of it’s natural lubrication (aka saliva). With the saliva removed, the mouth is quite literally opened to the negative impacts of dry mouth. And, as many things in the world of health, dry mouth can also lead to increased bacteria.
- Increased Bacteria – Once the mouth has become compromised to the point of dry mouth, bacteria has the ability to grow and develop because the body’s natural response system (saliva) of flushing out debris has been removed. Bacteria can lend itself to developing into cavities and causing further decay.
- Decay – The “trickle down” effect of increased bacteria due to vaping can cause the enamel of one’s teeth to break down and exposes the teeth to bacteria. Cavities are then formed, gums become vulnerable to infection, and you can become a prime candidate for periodontal disease.
- Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease includes any type of oral health issues above or below the gumline. It has been said that the “mouth is the doorway” to the rest of the body’s health. Periodontal disease can impact the gums, the jaw, can lead to tooth loss, and can elevate the risk factors of heart disease. [To learn more about gum/periodontal disease, click here.]
- Bad Breath – By eliminating all of the natural functions of the mouth and reducing the positive effects of oral health, bad breath is going to be a natural consequence that surfaces after vaping.
- Staining & Discoloration – You may be thinking, “I am avoiding traditional tobacco. That means my teeth won’t become stained or discolored.” False. Nicotine is still present in the liquid alongside a number of other chemicals that will wear away at the enamel and cause discoloration.
Is there anything I can do to help my mouth if I vape?
There’s not a lot of good news associated with vaping. Contacting your primary care physician and creating a plan to quit vaping is in your best interest.
However, if you continue to vape, consider amping up the following protocol to help improve your oral health.
- Hydrate – Water will always be your friend. Water will help flush away what the saliva would normally do, but can’t since the vaping has affected your saliva production.
- Brush often – Even more important than for those who don’t smoke, you’ll need to make sure you brush your teeth after vaping, after every meal, and morning and evening. You’ll need an offensive approach to protect the only teeth you have.
- Visit your dentist – Make it a point to keep and hold your dental appointments with Shining Smiles and if anything comes up, make sure to call them to be seen. You need the support to keep your smile healthy and happy.
- Floss – Flossing will keep you from having any lingering particles trapped in between your teeth. Make sure to cover the top and bottom of your mouth with good, regular flossing. Bonus points for using a mouthwash to kill any leftover bacteria.
Shining Smiles in Marietta, GA is your best defense
The team at Shining Smiles is committed to your oral health and will work with you to come up with a treatment plan if your oral health has been impacted by the effects of vaping.
Our team will meet you where you’re at with a non-judgmental attitude and spirit. By keeping open communication between doctor and patient, you can confidentially and confidently rely on the expertise and care of the Shining Smiles team.
If you have any questions or concerns about how vaping could have impacted your oral health, contact our office today and schedule a consultation. We are grateful to serve you.