Is Vaping Bad for Your Oral Health?
Submitted by Dr. Samir Ayoub on September 5, 2019 - 9:00 am
Lately Dr. Samir Ayoub has seen an uptick in the number of patients who quit smoking combustible cigarettes in favor of electronic cigarettes or vape pens. Although vaping appears to pose fewer oral health risks than smoking or chewing tobacco, it can still have a negative effect on the health and appearance of your smile.
E-Cigarettes’ Effect on Oral Health
Electronic cigarettes don’t have tobacco, but most contain nicotine. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts your blood vessels and decreases blood flow to your body’s tissues. With limited blood flow to the gum tissue, the risk of tissue death and gum recession is heightened.
Further, the reduction in blood flow may mask symptoms of gum disease such as bleeding gums or gum inflammation. Without detection and intervention, gum disease can advance considerably, eventually destroying the bone and tissues holding the teeth in place.
Another potentially harmful effect of nicotine is that it triggers bruxism, or teeth grinding. Chronic bruxism is harmful to the surfaces of the teeth and can cause them to wear down more quickly and become vulnerable to chips, cracks or fractures. Bruxism can throw off the alignment of the bite, causing problems with the temporomandibular (jaw) joint.
Nicotine can also diminish saliva production and lead to dry mouth. One of the important functions of saliva is to help wash away bacteria and food particles from the mouth. But with less saliva and a drier mouth, the bacteria and food particles can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Finally, if you are concerned about the appearance of your smile, it is important to note that the nicotine in e-cigarettes or vape pens can cause the teeth to take on a yellowish color.
Talk to an Expert about Your Oral Health
There’s a lot that we do not know about vaping; e-cigarettes are still relatively new and so far there have not been any long-term studies on their effects. We simply do not have as much data on vaping as we do combustible cigarettes.
If you smoke or vape, it’s a good idea to speak with a dentist about the possible effects on your oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ayoub.