E-Cigarettes and vaping is a relatively new concept that has taken off in recent years. Due to it’s newness, we are still figuring out its long-term impact on the body. However, a lot of studies have been carried out to get closer to the truth of its impact, especially on your oral health.
These studies highlight the impact e-cigarettes can have on your oral health. Although e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, they still contain nicotine which can adversely affect your oral hygiene. We will go into this in more detail in just a moment. Firstly, what is vaping and e-cigarettes?
What is Vaping?
Cigarettes work by burning tobacco leaves. The inhalation of the smoke as a result delivers nicotine to a person. Vaping is an alternative to inhaling tobacco and nicotine, and doesn’t involve the inhalation of smoke. Instead, e-cigarette products are filled with a liquid that usually contains nicotine and other products such as flavourings. A small heating element inside the device turns the liquid into a vapour that is then inhaled through a mouthpiece. A lot of people are choosing vaping over traditional cigarettes, as it has been suggested and marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking. However, we are not so sure. Inhaling vapour through e-cigarettes can have a negative impact on your oral health, and here is why…
Reasons to avoid E-Cigs:
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. This means that it reduces the amount of blood that is able to flow through your arteries and veins. This in turn leads to your gums not getting the sufficient levels of oxygen to keep your gums healthy. The longer you are inhaling nicotine through e-cigarettes, the more deprived of oxygen your gums are. This can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and periodontitis.
Masks the signs of gum disease:
As mentioned above, nicotine reduces the blood flow to your gums. One of the warning signs of gum disease is inflamed and bleeding gums. Without this increased blood flow causing gum inflammation, the warning signs can be difficult to notice. It also makes it difficult for your dentist to spot it without these signs. Untreated gum disease can lead to periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss.
Vaping causes dry mouth. This arises because of the propylene glycol used in e-liquids for vapour production. Propylene glycol attracts water molecules and draws them away from their surroundings. This has an adverse affect on your mouth, and reduces the production of saliva. Dry mouth over an extended period of time will lead to a build up of bacteria, which in turn leads to bad breath, mouth sores, and other more severe gum diseases.
Studies have shown that e-cigarettes can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth, especially in the crevices of the teeth. This is due to some of the ingredients in the e-liquid, mainly glycerin. Glycerin increases the formation of biofilm and bacteria sticking to your teeth. This formation of bacteria will lead to erosion of your teeth.
How to reduce the side effects of E-Cigarettes and Vaping
We would recommend refraining from using e-cigarettes completely due to the adverse affects mentioned above. However, if this is not a possibility, here are some tips to help you minimise the effects:
- reduce the nicotine levels in the e-liquid
- be aware of the ingredients in your e-liquid. As mentioned above, it has been suggested that propylene glycol and glycerin can cause oral issues so avoid or reduce their levels where possible
- brush teeth twice a day, 2 minutes each time
- use interdental brushes once a day
- drink water after vaping
- see your dentist every 6 months for a check up
Vaping and e-cigarettes have taken off in recent years, however the research on their longterm effects hasn’t quite caught up yet. We would recommend avoiding e-cigarettes to reduce negative oral health issues, now and in the future. If you are concerned about the effects of using e-cigarettes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.