The cigarette alternative vaping gained a following quickly due to the industry’s claims that it was a healthier way to consume nicotine than cigarettes. They also pushed the belief that vaping was an effective, safe way to quit smoking. As vaping continues to grow in popularity, so do concerns over its effects.
Though we encourage all of our patients to quit all forms of smoking to protect their overall physical and oral health, this blog is not to shame your decision to smoke in any way. Many people hear water vapor and assume inhaling it has no harmful effects. However, that’s not true. At Cashmere Family Dentistry, we want you to have all the facts, which means knowing how vaping can harm your teeth and gums, to make an informed decision about what you put in your body. While investigations into vaping’s short- and long-term consequences are ongoing, below are some side effects that we know for certain.
Gum Disease & Tooth Loss.
Vaping products include a liquid called propylene glycol. The name sounds scary, but this colorless, sweet-tasting liquid is found in liquid sweeteners and some dairy products, like ice cream and whipped cream.
How does this commonly found ingredient make vaping dangerous? Well, when inhaled, the liquid breaks down into acetic acid, lactic acid, and propionaldehyde, among other things, that are damaging to the enamel and soft tissue. Propylene glycol also soaks up the saliva in the mouth, causing an uncomfortable condition known as dry mouth.
Nicotine Doesn’t Just Cause A “High.”
Nicotine is a stimulant that gives users a very short buzz and a burst of energy. The chemical compound has been known to cause people to grind their teeth, which can alter the shape of teeth and wear down the enamel. The constant grinding could lead to jaw pain and TMJ disorders, which, once developed, can only be managed and never cured.
The addictive ingredient also reduces blood flow. Reduced blood circulation in the gums is dangerous because a nicotine user could have inflammation or other symptoms, but their issues won’t be visible without adequate blood flow. So, a smoker could have an infection or unhealthy gums and not even realize it.
In short, nicotine makes it easy for gum diseases to progress without even being noticed. Gum disease has also been connected to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more.
Flavorings Help Bacteria Stick To Teeth.
Vaping has many fun flavors, such as various fruits, cotton candy, and bubble gum. These flavors make them popular among young people and individuals who smoke without nicotine.
Unfortunately, these flavorings combined with the ingredient vegetable glycerin found in e-cigarettes (among other industries) can cause significant damage to your teeth. Like propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin is a sticky, colorless liquid with a sweet taste. When you vape, vegetable glycerin coats your teeth, creating a sticky surface for bacteria to latch onto in even the most difficult-to-reach places. Have you ever seen one of those sticky bug traps? Imagine your teeth as the trap and the bacteria as the bugs. Super gross, right?
Bacteria stuck on the teeth for an extended period can lead to cavities, tooth sensitivity, weakened enamel, gum disease, and more. Because vaping softens the teeth, they are much more vulnerable to the effects of bacteria that have made themselves at home.
Batteries Can Overheat and Explode.
If we had a comment section, it would probably be flooded with, “But I vape all the time, and none of my vapes has ever exploded!” We’re glad that you have never had to suffer through a vape explosion, and we hope you never do, but a vape blow-up is still a real possibility of using e-cigarettes.
The lithium battery in various vape types can quickly overheat either due to unsafe charging practices or a “mechanical mod” with no internal safety mechanism, allowing the vape to overheat and explode. While there is some debate on the prevalence of this, you should still be aware of the tissue damage and tooth loss it may cause if it happens to you.
This one has a question mark because the possibility of it happening at all is just as, if not more, debated as the risk of an exploding battery. Some say that nicotine stains the teeth, others say it’s the tar in cigarettes; some say vaping stains the teeth, others say that it does not.
While it has been proven that vaping causes less staining than traditional smoking, we hesitate to say that it does not cause any staining at all.
Cashmere Family Dentistry Is Here For You.
Because vaping has not been around for very long, the effects it has on the body and the consequences are still under question, but the negative impact it has on your oral health is not unknown.
At Cashmere Family Dentistry, we aim to provide exceptional care and customer service so that you enjoy coming to the dentist and have a smile you’re proud to show off.
If you have any questions about vaping, or if you want to know if another habit you have is harmful, contact us today! Our office is judgment-free, and our team is always happy to help!
Please schedule an appointment to address your concerns with one of our exceptional dentists. We hope to see you soon!