Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?
You probably know that smoking is bad for your teeth, but what about vaping? Although vaping may have fewer overall health risks than smoking cigarettes, it can still negatively impact your teeth and gums in many ways. At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to help you keep your teeth as healthy and strong as possible. Continue reading to learn exactly how vaping is bad for your teeth and what you can do to protect your oral health.
Why Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?
Vape juice or e-juice—the liquid that fills vape and e-cigarette cartridges—contains nicotine and other substances that the device heats up and vaporizes, which you then inhale. Some vape and e-juices contain propylene glycol and nicotine, which both cause dry mouth as a side effect.
Dry mouth is harmful because your mouth relies on adequate saliva flow to protect your teeth from decay. Saliva helps strengthen your tooth enamel and rids your mouth of harmful bacteria, so any substance that inhibits saliva production is hazardous to your oral health.
Nicotine has also been linked to bruxism (teeth grinding), which causes significant wear on your teeth and their enamel. If you clench your teeth frequently during the day or suffer from night grinding, you should seek treatment to prevent further damage.
Over time, teeth grinding can cause sensitivity and decay from worn enamel, as well as chipped or cracked teeth and painful jaw issues. Wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth at night, but quitting vaping is the most effective way to stop the grinding it causes.
Another consequence of nicotine use is staining—nicotine will turn your teeth yellow and eventually brown over time. Tooth staining isn’t necessarily damaging to your teeth, but it can damage your self-esteem and make you less confident in your smile. If you’re considering a tooth whitening treatment, it’s best to avoid nicotine in order to keep your teeth white and healthy.
Vaping also destroys your tooth enamel and leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavities and infections. Depending on the flavor, the vape juice may contain vegetable glycerin. This sweetener allows harmful bacteria to stick to and attack the surface of your teeth. Dry mouth, teeth grinding, and bacteria buildup each cause enamel erosion on their own, but when all three are combined, your enamel just doesn’t stand a chance against tooth decay.
How Does Vaping Affect Your Gums?
Because the e-juice contains nicotine, vaping greatly increases your risk of gum disease. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels in your body, decreasing blood flow to your gums. As a result, your gums become more vulnerable to infections, putting you at greater risk of developing gum disease. If gum disease isn’t caught and treated early on, it can cause permanent damage, leading to tooth loss and even bone loss in the jaw.
Vaping and Oral Cancer
Besides nicotine, e-juice also contains carcinogens like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde that cause cellular damage. These factors increase your risk for both lung cancer and oral cancer. However, you can significantly lower your risk by quitting vaping. Even if you don’t vape or plan to quit, scheduling regular dental exams is also essential for catching and treating early signs of oral cancer.
How to Protect Your Teeth When Vaping
The best way to protect your teeth from vaping is to quit altogether. However, we know that is easier said than done, so we want to help you understand the ways you can minimize the damage from vaping.
If you vape, follow these tips to protect your teeth:
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily to reduce your risk of tooth decay.
- Drink water after vaping to reduce tooth decay from bacteria and dry mouth.
- Suck on sugar-free mints after vaping to combat dry mouth and bad breath—sugar-free mints and gum won’t cause further damage to your teeth like the sugary kinds do.
- Attend twice-a-year dental cleanings and exams to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
Gentle Teeth Cleanings and Exams in Gilbert
Whether you vape casually or habitually, vaping is simply bad for your teeth. At Lifetime Family Dental, we can help you fight the effects of vaping and spot the signs of oral cancer or other dental issues. If you’re due for a checkup, or experiencing any tooth pain or sensitivity, please don’t hesitate to call us at 480-558-4331 to schedule an appointment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/23/2022). Photo by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash