Marketed as the safer smoking alternative, vaping has grown in popularity among those who want to quit smoking and those who enjoy its flavors and aesthetic.
At Caring Family Dentistry, we encourage all our patients to quit all forms of smoking to protect their oral and physical health, but we don’t want you to do it just because we said so! We want our patients to be able to make informed decisions about what goes into their bodies. That’s why we have put together this list of some of the oral side effects of vaping.
Many people hear water vapor and assume inhaling it has no harmful effects. However, that’s not true. While specialists are still researching vaping’s short- and long-term consequences are ongoing, below are some side effects that we know for sure.
Gum Disease & Tooth Loss
To make their products sweet-tasting, vape companies include propylene glycol, which is also found in liquid sweeteners and dairy products like ice cream. It is colorless and almost odorless.
When used in inhalants, like vapes, propylene glycol breaks down into acetic acid, lactic acid, and propionaldehyde, among other things, which are damaging to your enamel and soft tissue. Propylene glycol also dries the mouth by soaking up the saliva. If enough saliva is removed from the mouth, you can develop an uncomfortable condition called dry mouth.
A dry mouth plus weakened enamel and soft tissue are ideal for harmful bacteria and plaque to thrive, causing tooth decay, gum disease, and potentially even tooth loss!
Nicotine Does More Than Give You A Rush
The stimulant nicotine gives users a little burst of energy and a buzz for a very, very short period of time. One thing people do with that extra energy is grind their teeth! This friction can strip the enamel and dull the teeth. If you grind your teeth a lot or with a lot of pressure, you could develop incurable TMJ (jaw) joint disorders.
Another side effect of nicotine use is restricted blood flow. Regarding dental health, restricted blood flow in the gums allows symptoms such as inflammation to go undetected. Hidden signs of disease will enable the health concern to do considerable damage to the mouth before the smoker even realizes there’s an issue!
Vape Flavorings Are Beneficial For Bacteria
One way the vape companies pulled smokers away from cigarettes is by using fun flavors, like watermelon and cotton candy. These flavors usually include the sticky, odorless ingredient vegetable glycerin. Like propylene glycol, it helps create a sweet taste.
When you inhale vegetable glycerin, it coats the teeth and becomes a sticky bacteria trap. The adhesive makes removing harmful substances from the teeth and gums challenging. Bacteria stuck on the teeth for an extended period can lead to cavities, tooth sensitivity, weakened enamel, gum disease, and more. Because vaping softens the teeth, they are much more vulnerable to the effects of bacteria that have latched onto them.
The probability of your batteries overheating and exploding is low but not impossible or unlikely. You should still be aware of the tissue damage and tooth loss it may cause if it happens to you.
The lithium battery in various vape types can quickly overheat. This is due to unsafe charging practices by the user or by a “mechanical mod” with no internal temperature safety mechanism, allowing the vape to overheat and explode.
Potential Teeth Stains
This consequence of vaping is probably even more debated than the exploding batteries because what causes teeth stains when smoking has not been agreed upon. Some say that nicotine stains the teeth, others say it’s the tar in cigarettes; some say vaping stains the teeth, others say it does not.
While a study using cow teeth has proven that vaping creates less staining than traditional smoking, we hesitate to say that it does not cause any staining at all because not enough research has been done on the topic.
For More Information, Visit Caring Family Dentistry!
While the specifics of the side effects caused by vaping are still under investigation, its ability to negatively impact oral health is not questionable. Vaping can and will harm your teeth and gums.
At Caring Family Dentistry, we don’t judge. Whether you choose to quit smoking or not, we pride ourselves on providing quality care to all members of our community. Schedule an appointment with our exceptional dentists and team today.
We look forward to working with you!