The dangers of smoking and tobacco use have been known for many years. Tobacco products can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and more. But it also contributes to tooth staining, bad breath, oral cancer, and gum disease, which requires a gum specialist in Rochester, NY.
Because of the oral health risks, many smokers have switched to electronic cigarettes or vapes. These devices have been marketed as safer than traditional cigarettes, causing more people to begin this habit. However, vaping comes with its own set of health risks.
Vaping simulates smoking by creating a vapor with an electronic cigarette. A vape liquid inside the device is heated until it becomes a vapor. It often contains harmful ingredients, such as:
- Heavy metals like tin, lead, and nickel
- Cancer-causing chemicals
- Ultrafine particles that get inhaled into the lungs
- Flammable organic compounds
Vapes are pre-filled, single-use e-cigarettes or contain a refillable cartridge in various flavors and with or without nicotine.
People often choose to vape because they are trying to quit tobacco use or bypass smoke-free areas. Others use them because they believe it is a better option than other tobacco products or simply because they enjoy it.
Oral Health Risks Associated With Vaping
Studies linked to the impact of vaping are relatively new. However, substantial evidence links e-cigarette use and poor oral health.
Like tobacco products, the nicotine and other chemicals in vape liquid cause your teeth to become discolored. Brown nicotine particles from the vape liquid quickly absorb into your porous teeth, causing yellowing. Although the staining may not be as extensive as traditional cigarettes, it makes your teeth appear dull.
Vaping significantly impacts your mouth’s saliva production, causing a dry mouth. Saliva is essential to delivering nutrients to your teeth and washing away bacteria and food particles. Because vaping disrupts your saliva production, the risk of developing a cavity increases.
Some studies1 have shown that sweet-flavored vape liquid creates a similar risk of developing cavities as drinking acidic drinks or eating candy. If you drink water after using a vape, it could mitigate the chances of tooth decay forming.
Gum disease is the inflammation of gum tissue as it responds to bacteria. Many non-smoking patients must see a gum specialist in Rochester, NY, but the risk of gum disease increases with vape use due to the nicotine in the liquid.
According to the American Heart Association,2 it does not matter if nicotine is smoked or vaped. It still restricts blood flow to the gum tissue, putting you at risk of developing gum disease. It also changes the bacteria levels within the mouth and increases the temperature of the oral cavity. An increased temperature causes bacteria to multiply.
Some vape users also experience physical trauma. The mouthpieces of these devices get extremely hot and can cause burns inside and outside the mouth. But that’s not the worst that can happen.
Another significant issue is that e-cigarettes can explode. When they explode, they can cause severe burns and trauma to the mouth that can require extensive dental care.
Reducing the Oral Effects of Vaping
The best way to eliminate the negative impact of vaping is to quit using these devices. However, it is an addictive habit that many people find challenging to stop. Reducing the number of vapes you use can reduce your health risks, too.
Good oral hygiene can help maintain oral health and protect teeth and gums against decay and infection. Some habits you can begin incorporating include:
- Brushing a minimum of twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss or use interdental cleaners twice daily
- Eat a balanced diet
- Drink water instead of acidic drinks
- Schedule routine dental visits for a dental cleaning and oral exam
Incorporating these daily habits may not completely prevent you from having bad breath or developing tooth decay, but it will slow the progression.
Friendly Gum Specialist in Rochester, NY
Although traditional cigarettes may be more harmful than vaping, e-cigarettes still negatively impact health. Our dental team cares about your overall health and wants you to maintain a healthy smile. Contact us today online or by phone at 585-685-2005 to schedule a consultation to begin treatment for your oral health conditions.