Vaping became a trend around eight years ago as it was seen as a healthier option to smoking. General physicians agreed with that assessment even though they also stated that vaping also wasn't healthy. However, the dental community has since revealed how vaping can damage your teeth and gums.
Vaping Vs. Smoking
Most people assume that because vaping doesn't include tobacco it must be healthier than smoking but it affects oral health the exact same way that smoking tobacco does. Several reasons exist for that but the main problem is that vaping increases the bacteria in your mouth like smoking but in a different way.
Vapes and e-cigarettes have an aerosol and exposure to this chemical results in more bacteria in your mouth. That leads to increased cavities, gum issues, and tooth decay. The aerosol causes dry mouth and that means your mouth isn't producing the saliva it should be. Saliva is important for washing away food debris and bacteria. A lack of it leads to more bacteria growing.
A dry mouth with more growing bacteria also leads to bad breath. No matter what flavor of vape you get, your mouth won't smell like the flavor but will smell of the bacteria.
Some Vapes, e-Cigerettes Have Nicotine
Just because it's a vape or an e-cigarette doesn't mean it has less or no nicotine when compared to tobacco cigarettes. Some of these products include nicotine to target tobacco smokers who need that high.
The problem with nicotine is that it is a stimulant. It can induce anxiety and even produce tooth-grinding habits. Tooth grinding breaks down the enamel on teeth and weakens the tooth. This makes teeth more vulnerable to cracking, chipping, and cavities.
Another problem with nicotine is that the chemical can lead to gum decay and tooth loss because it affects teeth enamel. While different vape products contain varying amounts of nicotine, any nicotine is bad for your teeth and your health.
One thing to remember about nicotine is that it's addictive so once you start taking it, either in a vape, e-cigarette, or traditional cigarette, it's a hard habit to break.
The Overall Problem with Vaping
One of the rudimentary problems with the entire vaping industry is that none of it is controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While the FDA controls the items in many products we consume, they have had a hands-off approach to vaping.
That poses many concerns in the medical community, including dentists, because those who produce vapes don't have to disclose all that in them and don't have any regulations on what goes into them. They can put almost anything that's a legal substance in vaping products and that means it could be a lot of bad stuff going through your mouth and onto your teeth.
Besides being bad for your teeth, vaping and all the chemicals in the products can cause severe lung and heart problems. After all, you are inhaling an unknown chemical.
Vaping was the root of a lung illness outbreak that affected more than 2,000 people in the U.S. Many of those were teens, as they are the growing number of vapers today.
A Sticky Situation
Vaping also has the element of being sticky like candy so it adheres to teeth and that provides food for growing bacteria. The liquid is sugary and thick before it is aerosolized and inhaled. Then, it sticks as the mouth salvia rehydrates it back into a liquid. This also leads to bad oral health and problems like cavities and inflamed gums.
This type of sticky substance leads to more plaque and tartar than what normally occurs and that can result in cavities and tooth decay.
Cases Rising in Teens
Something dentists have seen in recent years is a rise in cavities and even gum disease in teenagers and that can be attributed to vaping. While teens are not legally allowed to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products, they can legally buy vaping products. On top of that, many vaping products are marketed to teens with their fun flavors like grape and bubble gum.
Even though kids can't buy cigarettes because of the addiction and health issues of nicotine, they are allowed to buy vape products that also contain nicotine. This can cause all types of health problems as well as mouth issues in the future.
Studies Show Increased Risk
The Tufts University School of Dental Medicine initiated a study that concluded that patients who vape had a higher risk of developing cavities. Dentists are concerned because more than 9.1 million U.S. adults and 2 million teens use vaping products.
The Tufts study included data from 13,000 patients who were more than 16 years old and visiting Tufts dental clinics between 2019 and 2022. The study suggests that 79 percent of dental patients who vape had a high risk of cavities, compared to 60 percent of patients who didn't vape.
Parents should be concerned about their teens vaping and the effect it could have on their dental health as well as their overall physical health. It's not as innocent as it seems and parents should talk to their teen about the habit and encourage them to get facts about vaping from their dentist.
We can help maintain your oral health and tell you more about the condition of your teeth or that of your children. Call us now to make an appointment for an evaluation.