Traditional cigarettes are tied to numerous serious health conditions and risks. Many people have turned to e-cigarettes or vaping because they believe there are fewer health risks. While this is an appealing factor, most fail to realize vaping poses a risk to their oral health. E-cigarettes do not contain the tar like regular cigarettes, reducing many health risks; however, vaping can pose hazards for the teeth and gums.
What is an e-cigarette?
An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette heats up a liquid called vape juice. Once it reaches a certain temperature, the liquid becomes a vapor, which is inhaled. The process of vaping is similar to that of smoking a cigarette. Vape juice is comprised of water, flavorings, glycerin, and propylene glycol. Even though vape juice is free from tar, most varieties do contain nicotine.
Is it safe to vape?
By removing the tar, one dangerous chemical is reduced. However, other chemicals in vape juice may pose risks to oral health. There is no way of knowing the long-term effects of vaping since the research is just getting underway. However, your Libertyville, IL dental team does recognize that there are chemicals in the vape juice that can negatively impact your oral health. Here are a few of the potential hazards.
When bacteria settle into pits and crevices in the teeth, it leads to tooth decay and cavities. When inhaling the vapor from an e-cigarette, bacteria gets in the mouth. It’s a lot like eating sticky, sweet foods, or drinking soda. These extra bacteria contribute to plaque buildup. Users might discover they are more prone to cavities, especially if they do not maintain good oral hygiene.
For some users, the propylene glycol can cause dry mouth. It can be a minor annoyance, but it can also lead to other, more serious dental health problems. The saliva provides a natural defense to fight off bacteria. Vaping introduces heat and chemicals into the mouth’s environment, which reduces the amount of moisture. When there isn’t enough saliva, the risks of tooth decay and cavities increases. Other side effects of dry mouth include painful sores in the mouth and chronic bad breath.
Vaping and Periodontal Disease
When bacteria thrive in the mouth, it can harm the gums. Just vaping can damage gum tissue. Some people experience a sensitivity to the chemicals in vape juice, along with sores caused by dry mouth. The chemicals can cause the gums to become inflamed and irritated. If it’s a severe case, the gums my develop pockets, bleed and start to recede. These are signs of gum disease.
With the rise of the popularity of vaping has come the availability of many different flavors. Some vape juice can give off a very sweet smell. This is because the flavorings in vape juice have similar properties to candy and drinks with lots of sugar in them. And, unfortunately, vaping and eating sweets have the same adverse effects on the teeth and increase the chances of cavities and tooth decay.
For Those Who Choose To Vape
There are still studies trying to discover the impact vaping has on oral health. Even though an e-cigarette doesn’t seem to pose as many health risks as a cigarette, there are still dangers. Those who choose to vape should be aware of the associated risks to their physical and dental health. Dr. Ala Dean Attar offers some suggestions to lessen the dangers to oral health, including:
- Use vape juice that does not contain nicotine.
- Drink extra water to help prevent dry mouth.
- Continue with good oral hygiene like regular brushing and flossing.
- Visit Attar Dental for regular checkups and cleanings.
If you have any questions about vaping and your oral health, please reach out to Attar Dental. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you maintain good oral and dental health.