The negative side effects of smoking regular cigarettes have brought their popularity to an all-time low. Problem is, vaping from e-cigarettes is attracting people who would have never considered smoking.
While vaping seems to lack many of the dangerous health problems associated with cigarettes, it is not a problem-free habit. Our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry wants to be clear about his stance on vaping—it can be terrible for your teeth and overall oral health.
E-Cigarette Ingredients Can Be Incredibly Damaging To Teeth
Vaping is marketed as the harmless heating up and expelling of water vapor. Sometimes, that water vapor is even flavored, making it far more appealing to younger users who may not have ever considered touching a cigarette. However, the ingredients found in e-cigarette juices can be both damaging and toxic to your teeth.
Flavoring and Vegetable Glycerin
For those who enjoy flavored vape juice, you may want to think again. E-liquid flavored with vegetable glycerin is about 60% as sweet as sugar but is an artificial sweetener, so it not generally a concern when it comes to cavity development. However, the addition of vegetable glycerin as flavoring has shown to lead to:
- Nearly 30% decrease in dental enamel hardness
- Doubles the amount of plaque buildup you normally experience
- Quadruples how well calcium, plaque, and other oral microbes can stick to your teeth
Also, because of the heavy, sticky nature of the flavoring, the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans is better able to adhere to any fissures or rough spots on your teeth, allowing tooth decay to spread rapidly.
Another ingredient found in e-cigarette juice is propylene glycol. This ingredient is found in a variety of food products such as ice cream, liquid sweeteners, and whipped dairy products.
However, as the propylene glycol breaks down into its base components, your teeth become exposed to lactic acid, acetic acid, and propionaldehyde. These components are incredibly toxic to the enamel of your teeth and can also harm the surrounding soft tissue of the gums.
Also, propylene glycol has the tendency to absorb water. By regularly vaping, you will have a perpetually dry mouth, which puts you at risk of increased tooth decay and cavities.
Vaping Can Hide Gum Disease
Not all types of vaping juice contain nicotine. However, those who do use nicotine-infused vape juice could have the signs of their gum disease hidden. That is, the signs will be hidden until it is too late for simple periodontal treatment to correct the issue and instead of our other dental services, such as dental implants, are needed.
The nicotine in e-cigarettes can disguise gum disease thanks to its effect as a vasoconstrictor. As the blood vessels in your gums are constricted and receive less blood flow, the red tenderness that can help point out the early stages of gum disease will not show up.
Along with the lack of signs, nicotine can suppress your immune system, to the point where it will not function properly. That way, the infection is able to take over more completely.
E-Cigs Potentially Can Explode While Being Used
A somewhat rare, but distinct oral danger of using e-cigarettes is the potential that they could explode as you use them. Two people have died from having their e-cigarettes explode while in use, and thousands of others have suffered burns and other injuries as their vape pens malfunctioned violently. The lithium batteries in the devices can be dangerous if not taken care of properly. Some of the things you can do to prevent a vape pen explosion are:
- Always use the proper charger, not a phone or tablet charge
- Do not leave the batteries loose
- Avoid using mechanical mods, as they lack internal safety regulators
- Only charge when in line-of-sight, not overnight
What To Do If You Do Vape
If at all possible, it is best that you stop vaping altogether. However, if you are not in a position where you can easily stop using your e-cigarette.
- Always drink water after vaping – As vaping dries out your mouth, you will want to be sure to drink plenty of water after using your e-cigarette. Don’t drink sugary, energy or acidic drinks to rehydrate. The acid and sugar can compound the negative effects of vaping.
- Opt for less or none nicotine juice – The sooner you vape without nicotine, the better for your gums and teeth. If you can’t switch immediately, opt instead for e-liquids with minimal amounts of nicotine.
- Come in for regular dental cleanings – Coming into our dental clinic for your twice a year dental cleaning can be a way to protect your teeth as you vape. Be sure to tell our staff that you vape so they can check if there any serious negative impacts starting to show up.
- Brush and floss carefully – Last, but certainly not least, you will need to brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to help remove the excess plaque you will develop due to vaping. You should also carefully floss before bed to ensure that you keep your gums healthy.
To work with our dentist to keep your teeth in top shape, contact us for an appointment today. We are happy to help you have the best smile possible!