With vaping in the news so much lately, you may be wondering if it poses any health risks for your teeth. The answer, we can say with confidence, is yes! This is because many e-cigarette vapors contain nicotine, the same ingredient that has already been shown to cause damage in tobacco chewers and cigarette smokers. Below is more information on nicotine, vaping, and the ways both can damage your oral health.
Many people hear the term “vapor” and assume that it refers to a harmless water vapor, with a fun flavor like cinnamon or cotton candy. The truth, unfortunately, is that e-cigarette “vapor” is really just liquid nicotine (or a substance containing it) that is heated into an aerosol that users can inhale. When dentists talk about the dangers of vaping, we are concerned firstly with the presence of nicotine, but also with the heat, because heating the mouth in this way dries the mouth out and creates an environment that is favorable to harmful bacteria.
Nicotine reduces your bloodflow, which in turn affects your teeth and gums. Without enough blood flowing through your veins, your gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy, die, and recede. Severely receded gums lead to tooth sensitivity, increased risk of cavities, and even loss of teeth.
Nicotine from e-cigarettes also reduces the saliva in your mouth, which is a crucial ingredient for reducing your mouth’s acidity. With less saliva to dilute the acids entering your mouth from lemon juice, sodas, and so on, the enamel is eroded more quickly, causing cavities and tooth decay. Saliva also controls the level of bacteria in your mouth, meaning that without it, plaque builds up more quickly, creating more acid.
Nicotine that is inhaled during vaping or smoking acts as a muscle stimulant. This can cause you to start grinding your teeth, or if you are already a tooth grinder, make the problem worse. Regularly grinding, gnashing, or clenching your teeth leads to tooth damage, jaw pain, and other oral health complications.
The jury might still be out on the effects of vaping on the lungs and body, but we do know with confidence that the substance it transmits, nicotine, can have devastating consequences on oral health. If you smoke or vape, we highly encourage you to consider quitting, so your smile can stay healthy and bright!
We provide ourselves in providing exceptional dental care in an understanding, non-judgmental environment. If you would like to ask our Hudson NC dentist for help identifying and treating gingivitis and other results of vaping, please don’t hesitate to request an appointment!