With the rise of health risks associated with cigarettes, many have turned to vaping as a promised or perceived healthier alternative. This has made e-cigarettes popular over the last few years. However, what many have not considered is the impact the chemicals used in e-cigarettes may pose to oral health. It is true that e-cigarettes do not contain the tar of a traditional cigarette, but other aspects of vaping may still be harmful to the mouth.
What is in an E-Cigarette?
An e-cigarette uses an electronic device to heat a liquid or vape juice. When it reaches a specific temperature, it turns into a vapor that is inhaled. The liquid is comprised of several ingredients, including water, flavorings, glycerin, and propylene glycol. Even though vape juice doesn’t contain tar, most flavors do contain nicotine.
Is Vaping Safe?
Without the tar, one harmful chemical is removed. There is still ongoing research to determine if there are long-term effects from the other substances in vape juice. So, no one can say with certainty that they are completely safe. However, your North Conway dental team does know some of the chemicals in e-cigarettes can impact oral health negatively. Here are a few of the potential hazards of vaping.
When vape juice is inhaled, bacteria enter the mouth too. It can settle into the pits and grooves on the teeth and result in cavities and tooth decay. It has a similar effect on the teeth as eating sugar-filled candies and sodas. One problem is contributing to the buildup of plaque. Users often learn they are more prone to cavities, especially if they do not maintain good oral hygiene.
The ingredient, propylene glycol, used in vape juice can cause dry mouth. It’s more than just a little annoying. Dry mouth can lead to a number of other, more serious oral health problems. In the mouth, saliva creates a natural barrier to protect against bacteria. Vaping introduces heat and chemicals into the environment, which removes some of the moisture. When there is less moisture, tooth decay and cavities can increase. Other side effects of dry mouth can include chronic bad breath and painful sores in the mouth.
Gum Disease and Vaping
Dry mouth and extra bacteria can affect gum health. But, vaping itself can also be harmful to the gums. Not only can it cause sores, but some users also have a sensitivity to the chemicals vaping introduces to the mouth. The chemicals can cause irritation and inflammation of the gums. In severe cases, gums may develop pockets, bleed, or recede. All of these are early signs of gum disease.
One of the features contributing to the popularity of e-cigarettes is the many available flavors. You might have noticed an e-cigarette often produces a sweet smell. The flavorings in vape juice have properties very similar to candy and sugar-laden drinks. They also have the same effect on teeth, such as increasing the chances of tooth decay and developing cavities.
Choosing to Vape
The full impact of vaping on oral health is not yet known as studies are still ongoing. Even though e-cigarettes are not as harmful as cigarettes, they still present some hazards. If you choose to vape, it’s important to be aware of the possible risks to your physical and oral health. The Eastern Slope Dental team has compiled a list of things you can do to hopefully lessen the dangers to your dental health.
- Avoid vape juices that contain nicotine.
- Drink extra water to replace the moisture removed by vaping.
- Maintain good oral hygiene habits such as flossing and brushing every day.
- Keep your regular checkups and cleaning schedule with your North Conway, NH dentist.
Contact Eastern Slope Dental
Please contact Dr. Allan Mulandi, if you have any questions about vaping and your oral health. We are happy to help!