The use of vaping devices represents an increasing proportion of tobacco consumption and poses a significant threat to oral health. While these devices are advertised as a better alternative to regular cigarettes, they have not been approved as a smoking cessation aid in Canada.
What are the effects of vaping on teeth and oral health? We explore the answers to these questions as well as what you can do to maintain optimal oral health.
Oral Health Effects of Vaping
While research is ongoing, we know that vaping poses many threats to oral health. These include:
- Dry mouth and excess bacteria
- Gum disease
- Inflamed gums
- Mouth sores
- Thick saliva
- Cell death
What Is Vaping?
Vaping involves inhaling and exhaling vapor created by a vaping device. Many devices produce these vapors, including electronic cigarettes, vapes and electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS. Today, some vaping devices resemble hoodies, smartwatches or other items.
Vapes, ENDS and e-cigarettes contain a battery, mouthpiece, heating component and cartridge for the e-liquid. When a vape is used, the battery fuels the heating component, turning the e-liquid into an aerosol. This vapor is then inhaled and exhaled. E-liquid is comprised of flavoring, other chemicals and sometimes nicotine.
Vaping and Gum Disease
Vaping can lead to gum disease, the symptoms of which include:
- Loss of teeth
- Receding gums
- Irritated, red or bleeding gums
- Chronic bad breath, or halitosis
- Swollen or tender gums
Vaping and Nicotine: Does Nicotine Stain Teeth?
The effect of vaping on teeth may vary depending on if the vape’s e-liquid contains nicotine. Using a vape juice that has nicotine may cause additional side effects, including teeth discoloration. While more research needs to be done to understand the effects of nicotine from vaping, the following may occur due to vaping a fluid containing nicotine:
- Gum inflammation
- Dry mouth
- Plaque accumulation
- Receding gums
- Teeth stainining
Is Vaping Bad for Your Health?
Nicotine is a toxic, highly addictive substance that causes withdrawal symptoms. There are many unknowns about vaping, including how the chemicals in the vapor affect long-term physical health. Recent research suggests associations between asthma and chronic lung disease and links between the combined use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes with cardiovascular disease.
Limiting Vaping Side Effects
The best way to limit vaping side effects is to stop vaping altogether and persuade others to stop vaping. For example, if you are a parent and want to steer your child away from vaping, take the following steps:
- Set a good example.
- Establish a smoke-free home.
- Prepare your kids for peer pressure.
- Maintain an open dialogue.
- Visit your family dental clinic at least twice a year — the frequency of cleanings will depend on individual needs.
Talk to Your Dentist About Vaping and Teeth Sensitivity and Other Side Effects
Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they may present similar health risks. If you’re worried about vaping and its effects on oral health or notice changes in your teeth sensitivity, contact Dental Choice.
Dental Choice offers dental care to patients in Calgary and Edmonton. During a dental cleaning, a dentist can screen for early signs of tooth decay, broken fillings, fractures and more. To schedule an appointment, fill out our online form today.