As e-cigarettes and “vaping” become more popular, it’s important to discuss the potential effects on your teeth and mouth with your dentist in Katy, TX. While often marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes, more and more studies are showing this isn’t the case. Risks to your teeth and mouth may be significant, potentially even worse than traditional tobacco cigarettes. Research is still ongoing, but there may be serious consequences of vaping, including for your oral health.
Ask Your Dentist in Katy, TX about How Vaping Affects Your Oral and Dental Health
If you use electronic cigarettes, you could be putting your smile at risk.
Some of the oral health risks of vaping include:
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Oral tissue burns
- Mouth and tooth trauma
- Gum disease
- Gum inflammation
- Dry mouth
- Jaw bone loss
- Oral cancer
As you can see, using e-cigarettes is not as harmless as many believe, particularly for your dental health. Depending on your history and the condition of your oral health, vaping may cause other risks as well. You can discuss the specifics of your situation with the dentist, as well as why most dental and medical professionals recommend quitting vaping.
E-Cigarettes May Be Just As Bad as Cigarettes for Oral Health
When it comes to your oral and dental health, recent studies suggest that vaping may be just as bad as smoking. We likely won’t know the long-term effects of vaping for many years, but there is evidence that vaping isn’t risk-free for your teeth, gums, and mouth.
Vaping can Lead to Dry Mouth
One of the most common side effects of vaping is dry mouth, which can put you at risk for a lot of different dental and oral issues. Dry mouth is a condition where you don’t produce enough saliva. Saliva is incredibly important for your oral health. For instance, it helps neutralize acids that can soften enamel and can also kill germs.
Some risks of untreated dry mouth include:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Enamel loss
- Oral thrush
- Difficulties chewing and swallowing
There are a few reasons why using an e-cigarette can increase your risk for dry mouth. For instance, excessive heat from the aerosol the device produces can lead to dry mouth. Nicotine and propylene glycol (a common ingredient in e-liquid that we’ll discuss a little later in this article) can also contribute to dry mouth.
Nicotine Affects Your Oral and Dental Health
Most vape products contain nicotine. This is the addictive chemical in both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Nicotine can also harm your oral health. One of the main issues is that nicotine can make your blood vessels narrow, which reduces the amount of blood flow to your gums. This reduces your mouth’s ability to fight bacteria, which can lead to gum disease. Lack of blood flow in your mouth can also make it harder for oral tissues to heal.
Another issue with nicotine is that it can reduce turnover for connective tissue. This is especially important because your gums are primarily made up of connective tissues. Over time, nicotine use can lead to gum recession, which can put you at a higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other oral health issues. Therefore, your dentist in Katy, TX typically recommends quitting vaping, smoking, chewing, or any other activity that puts nicotine into your body.
Common Ingredients in E-Liquid May Be Harmful
Even nicotine-free e-liquids contain chemicals that may be harmful for your oral health. For instance, e-liquids are typically made using water, propylene glycol, vegetable oil, and flavoring, whether the liquid contains nicotine or not. Each of these ingredients may pose a risk for your oral health.
Propylene glycol (PG) is a common ingredient in e-liquid. While PG is often added to foods to help dissolve flavorings and dyes and retain moisture, it may pose a threat to your oral health when inhaled using an e-cigarette. When PG is heated up, it breaks down into different types of acids as well as a chemical called propionaldehyde. These chemicals are all toxic to enamel on teeth as well as soft tissues, like your gums. Propylene glycol also sticks to water molecules, which can contribute to dry mouth for those who vape.
Vegetable oil and flavorings are also often found in e-liquids. These can also affect your oral health. Studies have found that they can soften the enamel of your teeth. This can make you more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay. In addition to softening the enamel, they may also increase how much bacteria sticks to your teeth, including bacteria that can cause gum disease and cavities. In fact, some experts say flavored e-liquids may have similar effects to candy and sugary drinks when it comes to oral health.
Therefore, in most cases your dentist in Katy, TX recommends avoiding e-cigarettes, especially if they’re not helping you with smoking cessation. Because the ingredients in e-liquid can cause such harmful effects, vaping can put your teeth and mouth at risk for serious oral diseases and injuries.
Risks of Burns and Trauma from E-Cigarettes
E-cigarette devices can also lead to other issues, including burns and trauma. Exploding vape pens have been in the news more and more since vaping became popular. Yet, these types of accidents continue to occur. In some cases, these devices can explode near the mouth while someone is trying to puff on the device. This can do a lot of damage to the mouth, including knocked out teeth, broken facial bones, and burns on delicate oral tissues and lips. So far, two people have even died from e-cigarette explosions, including a 24-year-old man in Fort Worth back in January of 2019. Therefore, it’s important to consider this risk to your health, life, and mouth when talking about the dangers of vaping.
Talk to Your Dentist in Katy, TX if You Vape
If you vape, it’s important to talk to the dentist about reducing risks for your oral and dental health. Typically this involves beginning a plan to quit. In addition, there are some other things you can do to help.
For instance, make sure to follow good dental hygiene practices, like brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day and flossing every day. This can help remove plaque from your teeth that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental health issues.
In addition, if you have dry mouth from vaping, talk to our dentist in Katy, TX about treatments to help with this issue. Dry mouth can cause many different dental health issues, so it’s important to address it as soon as possible. Things like staying hydrated can help, but severe cases might need medications and other treatment interventions.
Also, don’t forget to schedule regular visits at the family dentistry office. Make sure you stay on top of your dental exam and cleaning every six months! This can help reduce plaque and tartar that puts your teeth and gums at risk. Regular exams can also help with early detection for serious dental diseases like periodontal disease and even signs of oral cancer. Therefore, it’s especially important for those who vape to see the dentist regularly, since they may have a higher risk for these oral health problems.
Talk to Your Teens about the Dangers of Vaping
Even if you don’t use e-cigarettes, it’s important to discuss the dangers of vaping with your children, especially teenagers. Unfortunately, vaping is on the rise in younger people, many of which don’t understand the potential consequences of vaping. This may be due to a mix of marketing ploys claiming vaping is safe, the availability of sweet and candy flavored e-liquids, and a lack of knowledge about the dangerous side of vaping.
Between 2017 and 2018, e-cigarette use increased by 78% for high school students and by 48% in middle school students. According to a 2020 survey, approximately 18% of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students used an e-cigarette within the last 30 days. Studies have also found that people who vape are about seven times more likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes as well. Therefore, parents need to be aware of the dangers and risks associated with e-cigarette use and discuss them with their children. This can not only help reduce the risk of serious oral and dental diseases, but also other potential health problems.
Experienced, Affordable Dentist in Katy, TX at The ToothBooth
At The ToothBooth, our team is dedicated to helping you maintain a healthy mouth and smile. We offer high quality dental care in a comfortable environment to help you take care of your smile. Our dentist, Dr. Taha, offers years of experience and training to provide the services you need. If you need a dentist in Katy, TX, call us now at (832) 437-0841 to book an appointment!