Vaping and Teeth
Vaping and Proudly Smiling
Most of us agree that oral hygiene is very important. A smile which reveals a set of white teeth has always been attractive and the goal of many.
On the other hand, one more thing is becoming increasingly popular, with the number of 9.000.000 adult Americans and counting. Since 2003, e-cigarettes, vape pens and different vaporizers are on the market. They utilize propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings, aromas and a certain percent of nicotine. Vaping is a worldwide phenomenon and its effect on the human body is a popular topic among researchers – cardiovascular and respiratory systems are particularly in focus.
However, another very important area of human health has been neglected – dental health.
What’s the Harm of Vaping?
Although vaping is considered to be completely different process from smoking, this does not mean vaping comes without any risk. Read about some myths and facts about vaping here. So, what happens with the teeth of vapers? Do they suffer the consequences? There are some ingredients included in the vaping process which may significantly harm oral cavity. To be more precise – dental health and teeth decay.
When we analyze the potential threats of vaping for our teeth, the usual suspect which comes in contact with oral cavity is aerosol (liquid aerosol to be more precise). It is made up of liquid droplets, but there is a possibility for it to sometimes contain some toxins or heavy metals. A very small amount of solid particles coming from flavorings or contaminants from the vaping hardware may also persist in aerosol. No matter the exact substances aerosol involves, it does not work favorably towards your teeth. Especially considering the fact aerosol comes in contact with the teeth when at its hottest, and any extreme temperature harms the teeth.
Although vaporizers with zero percent of nicotine can be easily found on the market, most of them do contain a certain percent (the amount varies from 0 to 35 mg/ml). Nicotine is harmful in so many ways and when it comes to teeth it causes the following:
- Gums recession – by reducing the blood flow through the blood vessels, nicotine deprives the gums from oxygen and all other vital substances.
- Periodontitis (gum infection) – inflammation around the tooth which damages the soft tissue around the teeth and the bone that supports it.
- Gingivitis – inflammation around the teeth usually caused by bacteria. Nicotine promotes the gum’s susceptibility for this condition.
Of course, these diseases are not 100% vaping connected, but should be mentioned since many vapers use e-liquid with nicotine and possibly take even more than by smoking because they think it is not as bad as cigarettes. Vaping gadgets are constantly improved in the field of transmitting nicotine to the body and the users should be aware of the risks.
What Do Experts Have to Say?
Jamie Collins, a dental hygienist and educator from the College of Western Idaho, connects vaping with xerostomia (dry mouth syndrome), stomatitis (mouth and lips inflammation), and dry cough as a consequence of inhalation and exhalation of the vaporized liquid. All of these conditions may directly or indirectly affect teeth health.
A biochemist from the University of Rochester in New York, Irfan Rahman gathered a team and performed a research on the effects e-cigarettes have on human gum cells. Researchers grew these cells in the lab and exposed them to vapors from e-cigarettes.
The conclusions indicated that vapors have an impact on the cells by damaging them and altering their DNA. These changes may lead to long term inflammations, decay of the tooth surrounding tissue and bone, and eventual tooth loss.
Furthermore, mouth cells gave off warning signals known as inflammatory markers. What is interesting, these markers appeared more when mouth cells were exposed to flavored e-cigarettes, compared to unflavored ones. This imposes a conclusion that flavor chemicals carry a potential risk of tooth damage.
Is There a Different Side of the Story?
It depends on what answer suits you more. The amount of chemicals emitted from cigarettes is tremendous comparing to vaping. In addition, smoke contains tar which stains and harms teeth. This is a minor thing comparing to more serious consequences of smoking – oral cancer, heart disease, lung disease etc. While it is safe to say smokers can’t be proud of their dental health, vaping area has not yet been completely studied.
What we do know is that e-cigarettes contain a few toxic chemicals and nicotine, whose inhalation puts general well being and oral health at risk.
On the other hand, vapers have the luxury of choosing among the variety of vaping devices which among other characteristics differ on quality, vape juice and nicotine percent. All of this helps to reduce the risk of dental health problems. If you love to vape, but you also like your teeth and would like to use them in the future, be cautious and vape wisely. Be informed on vaping devices and read more about the types of e-cigarettes, vaporizers and vape mods.
Dental Health Recommendations for Vapers
Is there anything 100% safe? Vaping sure isn’t. Those who do vape and take care of their dental health should make sure to:
- Partake regular oral screenings – early detection is the key
- Maintain oral hygiene – regular brushing and flossing
- Go on a zero nicotine e-liquid
- Find a highly trusted dental professional who can help you make decisions on your dental health.