Vaping is when you use a small, handheld electronic device to breathe a vapor into your lungs. The vape pen or e-cigarette heats up a liquid composed of nicotine, propylene glycol, flavor, and other substances into an aerosol that can be inhaled through the mouthpiece. Vaping was first introduced as a helpful and safe way for smokers to quit the nicotine habit, but it turns out that it is harmful to health in many ways. It adversely affects oral health and can cause permanent damage to gums and lead to tooth loss. Here is how vaping can affect your oral health:
Increases the risk of gum disease
Different types of vape juice have different levels of nicotine. Nicotine, whether delivered through smoking, chewing, or vaping, constricts blood vessels and restricts the blood flow to the gums. This makes it difficult for the gums to fight off bacteria and infections, increasing the risk of gum disease.
Research has shown that e-cigarette users have a unique oral microbiome—the community of bacteria and other microorganisms—that is less healthy than nonsmokers. It was also found that a distinct microbiome in e-cigarette users was correlated with clinical measures of gum disease and changes to the host immune environment. It is also important to note that not only does the nicotine in vape juice restrict blood flow, but the other chemicals, such as propylene glycol and benzene, can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of gum disease.
While vaping does not directly cause bad breath, it can aggravate the problem. Nicotine affects the body’s ability to create saliva and prevent oral bacteria. This can lead to a buildup of excess bacteria that can cause bad breath. The buildup of bacteria can also cause infections, which, if ignored, can cause long-term oral health issues.
Those who vape often experience Xerostomia, a sensation of oral dryness, which can result from diminished saliva production. This happens because of chemicals such as nicotine and propylene glycol that draw moisture from the environment and into the vapor. Due to this, vaping can cause a constant feeling that the mouth is dried out.
Affects the ability to heal
Oral tissue tends to heal more quickly compared to other tissues in the body. The presence of certain chemicals in the vape juice can affect your mouth’s ability to heal. Research has shown that vaping can slow down wound healing just as much as smoking cigarettes. It reduces blood flow and circulation to the gums, which makes it difficult for the damaged tissue to heal. Minor oral issues can progress into more severe conditions.
Increased risk of cavities
Cavities are usually caused when plaque acid erodes the tooth’s enamel. When plaque bacteria come in contact with sugar, it produces a harmful acid that can cause damage to the teeth. Flavored vape often contains sugar, which means that when you are vaping regularly, you are putting yourself at a greater risk of developing cavities and other dental problems. This effect is further aggravated by the mouth-drying effects of nicotine and other chemicals in the vape juice.
Vaping is known to stain your teeth, especially where the vape device is held in the mouth. The discoloration is likely due to nicotine and tar. Nicotine turns yellow when exposed to oxygen, and tar causes dark discoloration. Over time, the teeth may begin to look yellow, dark, and dirty.
If you are worried about the effects of vaping on your oral health, book an appointment with us. We will thoroughly examine your teeth and mouth and do our best to restore your oral health.