I used to look at vaping with rose-tinted glasses. However, current research coupled with the surge of vape-related health incidents has knocked me off my high horse.
Don’t get me wrong—vaping is still the safer alternative to smoking. Unfortunately, it’s still unhealthy, and as more high school students take up the habit, dental experts are learning more about the adverse effects on permanent teeth.
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling vapor (aerosol) produced from e-juices by an e-cigarette. Now, vape juice consists of numerous ingredients such as vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycerin (PG), flavoring, and nicotine which can effect teeth.
The ingredients, though considered safe by FDA research, can be detrimental to oral health.
So, let’s get into it. Does vaping stain teeth? Is vaping bad for your gums? How does vaping affect your mouth?
Does Vaping Stain Teeth?
The pores of your teeth are similar to the skin’s pores—they both absorb what’s around them. So, when you use cigarettes, the pores of your teeth absorb their nicotine and tar.
Upon absorption, vaping can stain your teeth and leave them yellow.
Although the e-juice found in electronic nicotine delivery systems doesn’t contain tar, it still has nicotine. When oxygen comes into contact with nicotine, it can give you yellow teeth. Fortunately, unlike tar, nicotine is only a minor contributor in staining your teeth yellow.
However, be advised that some e-juices for electronic cigarettes do contain dyes and coloring agents that can cause stains, just like cigarette smoking.
So, vaping with an e-cigarette doesn’t usually stain teeth because it doesn’t create smoke. The e-liquid and the vaping process don’t have the stain-causing elements that cigarettes have.
However, let’s not act like e-juice is an elixir. Also, we shouldn’t forget the other harmful effects of vaping on oral health, like gum inflammation and periodontal diseases.
5 Harmful Effects of Vaping on Your Teeth and Gums
1. Gum Recession
Research shows that nicotine reduces blood flow in your system. The reduced blood in your veins impacts your teeth, gums, and other periodontal tissues as they don’t get the necessary supply of nutrients and oxygen.
This reduced blood flow results in the death of gum tissues and gum recession. With the tissues receding, you can expect increased teeth sensitivity, cavities, and loss of teeth if you develop gum disease.
So, tooth staining isn’t the only issue you have to worry about when smoking cigarettes or vaping with electronic cigarettes. Both can cause periodontal disease and diminish your overall oral health.
2. Dry Mouth
The nicotine found in e-juices and cigarette smoke can also decrease the production of saliva in your mouth.
Devoid of saliva, your body will not be able to protect and maintain your oral health. This occurrence will result in a dry mouth and an increase in bacteria and plaque buildup.
The aerosol (vapor) produced by e-cigarettes also encourages the growth of bacteria, primarily in the pits and crevices of the teeth. In the end, you will suffer from mouth sores, bad breath, and decay. The vapor may also stain your teeth.
Nicotine is not the only ingredient in a vape juice that can cause mouth dryness. Scientific reports indicate that the propylene glycol (PG) in e-liquid is equally responsible for causing a dry mouth and affecting your dental health.
3. Grinding, Clenching, and Gnashing of Teeth
The nicotine ingested during vaping sessions not only satisfies your cravings but also serves as a muscle stimulant. In layman’s terms, nicotine encourages grinding, clenching, and gnashing of teeth.
Under such intense stress, your teeth will be susceptible to damage, and you may even have bone loss around your teeth.
4. Cell Death
There have been reports suggesting that vaping causes cell death. Inhaling an unhealthy amount of aerosols has been found to harm a person’s DNA and cause gum inflammation.
Such circumstances can prevent cells from growing. Without rapid growth, the cell aging process quickens, and their death rate increases.
In conclusion, cell death can cause many oral health problems, including tooth loss and decay, bad breath, dry mouth, and numerous types of oral health effects, like gum disease.
5. Tooth Decay
Despite being sweet, the vegetable glycerin (VG) found in e-liquid isn’t harmful to dental health on its own. Unfortunately, manufacturers mix the VG in e-juices with different flavorings, and such blends are destructive and can weaken the enamel.
With weakened enamel, bacteria have a much easier time getting stuck to the softened teeth. The bacteria then start wreaking havoc, causing rampant tooth decay, just the same as cigarette smoking.
How to Avoid the Side Effects of Vaping on Teeth and Gums?
I know that it isn’t feasible for you to quit vaping altogether. However, you can adopt some methods to lower the side effects of vaping on your teeth and gums.
If you want to keep smiling from ear to ear and flash your teeth without worries, follow these points:
- Opt for vape juices with low nicotine strength/content.
- Remember to stay hydrated during your vaping sessions.
- Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Be careful not to brush immediately after vaping, as doing so can weaken the enamel. Wait for at least half an hour after using e-cigarettes before brushing.
- Remember to keep your gums healthy, too, to prevent inflammation of the gums. To keep gums as they should be, floss often.
Are you planning to quit smoking but don’t know how? Reach out for e-cigarettes to take your first step towards quitting cigarettes. Many vaping devices provide you with a smoking-like experience, albeit in a healthier manner.
Also, lower the nicotine strength of your vape juice as you become less reliant on nicotine. Then, quit vaping altogether because, even though we need more research to thoroughly understand the additional side effects and symptoms of vaping and e liquids, your gums and teeth will thank you.
Finally, remember, vaping with e-cigarettes should be used as a medium to help you stop using regular cigarettes. Don’t abuse it unless you want to end up with health symptoms, like gingival inflammation, teeth sensitivity, and other health conditions.
Remember, vaping should be used as a medium to help you stop smoking. Don’t abuse it.