Does Vaping Affect Your Teeth and Oral Health?

Does Vaping Affect Your Teeth and Oral Health?
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Does Vaping Affect Your Teeth and Oral Health?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Effects on Oral Health
  2. Impact on Teeth, Gums, and Mouth
  3. Vaping vs Smoking
  4. Does the Type of Juice Matter?
  5. Ingredients to Avoid
  6. Preventing Oral Health Issues
  7. When to See a Dentist
  8. References
The act of vaping is when you inhale vapor through an electronic cigarette and another nicotine delivery device. An e-cigarette is battery operated and has a cartridge filled with a liquid containing nicotine, chemicals and one or more flavorings. The liquid inside the e-cigarette is heated to create a vapor, which is what you inhale.

Effects on Oral Health

Using an electronic cigarette poses a significant threat to oral health.
When you compare traditional tobacco to e-cigarette, they can be equally dangerous to teeth, gums and other tissues in the mouth.

Impact of Vaping on Teeth, Gums and Mouth

Studies are showing vaping can have a negative effect on your teeth and gums including exposure to bacteria from the aerosol. Bacteria finds its way into the pits and crevices of your teeth. Excess bacteria have an association with gum diseases and cavities.

Gums

Studies are clear:

  • A 2014 review of vaping showed it causes throat and mouth irritation that include redness, swelling and tenderness of the gums.
  • A 2016 study linked e-cigarettes to inflammation in gum tissues, inflammation associated with different types of periodontal diseases. Other irritations are also linked to the use of e-cigarettes.
  • In another study from 2018 of live cells from human gums showed vaping aerosols can increase your risk of inflammation and DNA changes. This inflammation can lead cells to lose their power to divide and grow. Not being able to divide and grow results in cell death.
  • And a 2019 study showed that more than half of people who “smoke” e-cigarettes report having lost at least one permanent tooth from tooth decay or gum disease.
Teeth

There are many other side effects from vaping, including staining your teeth or causing other discolorations. Stains from the fluid inside the vape container, which includes nicotine.

Vaping can also cause tooth sensitivity. The heat or nicotine that comes from the vapor increases your risk of gum recession and, over time, can expose the underlying root structure. The root of a tooth is composed of cementum and is especially sensitive to cold and heat.

Mouth
Some of the liquids used in e-cigarettes, especially propylene glycol, have been reported to cause mouth dryness. Chronic mouth dryness is linked with tooth decay, mouth sores, and bad breath. These devices are also responsible for damage to your gums.

Vaping vs. Smoking on Your Oral Health

Vaping and smoking both affect oral health. Those who smoke put themselves at a higher risk of developing gum problems, getting mouth cancer, losing teeth, having complications after tooth removal, gum, and oral surgery, and decay on the roots of your teeth.

With all these risks, if you vape or smoke you should visit your dentist regularly. These are the different risks you put yourself at with these habits:

Negative Health Issues from Vaping

Vaping might seem less dangerous than smoking tobacco, but this is not the case when it comes to your oral health. When you inhale the liquid used in vaping it can contain:

  • Cancer-causing chemicals
  • Nicotine
  • VOCs (Volatile organic compounds)
  • Heavy metals

Vaping devices can cause more problems in your mouth if they contain nicotine. The long-term effects of vaping have not yet been determined, but there is evidence it can cause inflammation in your mouth, which can lead to gum disease and other oral health issues.

Vaping can also cause vape tongue, which is a temporary loss of taste. Vaper's tongue will also change how you experience vapor flavors, and tastes you normally enjoyed, can become unpleasant. This condition is typically temporary and preventable. One of the most common effects of vape tongue affects one flavor and can last up to two weeks.

Factors that influence the development of vape tongue include:

  • Dry mouth. This is a common cause of vaper's tongue as your taste buds dry out and become less capable of sensing different flavors.
  • Flu, cold or a stuffy nose.
  • Damaged taste buds.
  • Dehydration. This will also result in the taste buds drying out, causing a loss of taste.

If you experience a total loss of taste, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor as it may be an indication of a more serious health issue.

Even though vaping is believed by some to help them quit smoking, it can actually make it harder to quit.

Negative Dental Health Issues from Smoking

If you smoke, you should expect to deal with a potentially long list of health issues related to your smoking. Among them that are related to the health of your mouth, gums and teeth are:

  • Severe periodontal disease.
  • Increase in the risk of developing acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which is a painful condition that is accompanied by a foul taste and smell.
  • Make it more difficult for your dentist to detect gum disease. Smoking causes poor blood supply to the gums, and makes it less likely they will bleed, which is one of the first indications of gum disease.
  • A reduction in the effectiveness of gum treatment by your dentist.
  • Tooth loss, will make it difficult for you to chew.
  • Mouth cancer.

Smoking and Gum Disease

Periodontal or gum disease is when an infection develops and destroys the bone supporting and surrounding your teeth. This bone is what holds your teeth in your jawbone so you are able to chew food.

Smoking increases your risk of developing this disease, and if not treated, the structures that keep your tooth in your gums can become damaged. This damage can cause your teeth to become loose and fall out, or your dentist might have to remove them.

Does the Type of Vape or Vape Juice Matter for Oral Health?

Vape juice contains propylene glycol (PG), which is safe to inhale or eat. But the juice can break down into acids that damage enamel on your teeth. Propionaldehyde will also irritate soft tissue. Propionaldehyde is responsible for taking away essential saliva in your mouth to cause dry mouth, which can lead to gum disease and cavities.

There have not been many studies on the effects of different vape flavors on oral health, but in 2014 a study indicated most of these juices reduce healthy cells in the connective tissue in your mouth. Of the flavors tested, menthol showed the most damaging or oral cells.

Juul is a specific vape brand that contains nicotine. Because of the dangers nicotine can cause to your oral health, all oral health issues will also apply to those who use Juul.

Are There Certain Ingredients to Avoid with Vaping?

It is not always easy to determine what is in your vaping device Many manufacturers don't list their ingredients on the package. These e-liquid ingredients have been shown to cause negative effects on your oral health:

  • Menthol
  • Nicotine
  • Propylene glycol

Flavored e-liquids have been shown to cause more gum inflammation than non-flavored ones. Eliminating or limiting these ingredients might reduce your overall risk for serious side effects.

Preventing Oral Health Issues If You Vape

If you vape regularly, you must pay more attention to your teeth if you want to maintain sound oral health. Here are steps to reduce your risks of side effects:

  • Schedule regular dental visits. Seeing your dentist every six months for a consultation and cleaning will help maintain your oral health. These visits can also allow for early detection and treatment of any conditions developing in your teeth, gums, or the area around your mouth.
  • Limit how much nicotine you inhale. Low nicotine or nicotine-free juices can reduce your risks for negative effects on your gums and teeth.
  • Floss nightly. Flossing will help remove plaque and promote healthy gums.
  • Drink water after vaping. To avoid dry mouth and bad breath, you should rehydrate after vaping.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth will help remove plaque and help prevent cavities. Brushing also promotes overall gum health.

When to See a Dentist

Certain symptoms will warn you of underlying oral health issues. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to schedule an immediate appointment with your dentist:

  • Receding gumline
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Mouth pain or toothache
  • Changes in sensitivity to temperature
  • Sores that don't heal in your mouth (mouth ulcers)
  • Frequent dry mouth
  • Loose teeth

If you have any of the above symptoms accompanied by swelling in your neck or face, or a fever, you should seek emergency medical treatment.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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