October 17, 2017
It is common knowledge that cigarette smoking has a negative effect on many aspects of your health including your mouth and your lungs. Vaping e-cigarettes has become a trending alternative for smokers trying to quit or for enthusiasts who just like vaping. If you are unfamiliar with vaping e-cigarettes, TheVape.Guide has a great resource on vaping wax, dry herb, and eliquids and that you can check out to learn more.
While vaping has become a “healthier” alternative, per say, compared to smoking, there are some risks that are carried with the habit – including on your oral health like your gums and your teeth. Let’s take a look at what some of these risks are. For the sake of this article, much of the discussion will center around the use of nicotine based e-liquids in e-cigarettes as well as some flavored e-liquids – not the e-cigarettes themselves.
While there isn’t much evidence on vaping e-cigarettes and your health, there has been extensive research linking nicotine with poor oral health. More importantly, nicotine can cause gum recession in most people as well as an increased risk for gingivitis and periodontitis – among other oral health issues.
First, nicotine has been known to cause bad breath. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which prevents the glands in your mouth from producing saliva. This essentially causes bacteria to build up in your mouth as well as dry mouth and tooth decay. Next, nicotine can cause gum recession. Nicotine, described earlier as a vasoconstrictor, constricts blood from passing sufficiently through your veins. When this happens, the gums don’t get the right amount of oxygen and blood flowing into them which chokes them – leading to gum tissue death.
If don’t already grind your teeth, nicotine might surely get you started. Nicotine acts a stimulant which gets your muscles moving which can lead to teeth grinding. Already a teeth grinder? Well, you can expect more vigorous grinding as a result of nicotine use. Lastly, nicotine has been known to mask the symptoms of gum disease. Many individuals report that they seem to have positive results regarding their oral health due to vaping e-cigarettes.
However, this makes it even harder to diagnose gum disease. If you have gum disease, the gums normally swell and become engorged with blood – leading to bleeding during brushing. With a person who uses nicotine, this isn’t the case and it deceives not only the individual but the dentist as well. Long term use of other nicotine based products can have this effect as well.
Nicotine is not the only culprit for poor oral health just as the gums are not the only affected area in the mouth. There are other oral health problems that can arise from vaping with e-cigarettes including dry mouth, stains, burns, and a cough.
Many studies have already established that there can be some harmful chemical present within some e-liquids and that menthol additives are known to create issues in patients regarding their “epithelial cells as well as the fibroblasts within the periodontal ligament”. It is also important to note that the vapor from e-cigarettes first enters the body through the mouth – at its most concentrated and hottest. Vaping effects on the oral cavity can affect individuals in different ways depending on how often they vape, what type of e-liquid they use, and simply how the body reacts to vaping.
One of the most common symptoms reported to dentists in connecting to vaping is xerostomia or dry mouth – which can also be accompanied by a dry cough. What many individuals don’t realize when they complain of a dry cough is that it could be due to the effects of inhaling vapor into the “bronchioles of the lungs”.
Other oral issues that can arise from vaping includes stomatitis which can appear as dark pin pricks, ulcerations, and burns.
Vaping has become a staple in today’s culture. It has become a trend for enthusiasts who love to vape with different devices but also serves as an effective smoking cessation tool. For many who struggle with quitting cigarettes, using e-cigarettes has proven to be the most effective method to kicking the habit and would most likely be frustrating to have to quit. Many healthcare professionals – dentists in particular to this article – would most likely advise against continued use of e-cigarettes. However, for those who wish to continue vaping, there are some remedies for some oral symptoms. For instance, dentists would recommend using a dry mouth based toothpaste to alleviate symptoms associated with xerostomia (dry mouth).
If you wish to continue vaping, then it is very important that you educate yourself on vaping and oral health by speaking with a dental professional who can give you more information and help you if you are already experiencing oral health problems and are an e-cigarette user.