Most everyone knows smoking tobacco is bad for their health. Not only can it cause lung cancer, but it can also lead to oral health issues. Often, people begin vaping because they believe it to be safer than smoking cigarettes, but is this true? Many vapers may be in for a rude awakening when they find out vaping is not as safe as they thought.
Many vapers do not realize what happens when they vape. To understand how vaping is bad for your teeth, it is important to first understand the vaping process and the chemical reactions that occur.
Everyone knows cigarettes produce smoke, which delivers nicotine to the lungs. E-cigarettes use vapor to deliver nicotine. Many people mistakenly believe the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is harmless water vapor, but this is not correct.
Unfortunately, this vapor contains nicotine, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals, all of which can affect the health of the teeth. Many of the chemicals released by vaping have been linked to heart disease, certain types of cancer, and respiratory diseases.
Vaping and the Health of Your Smile
People who vape do not always realize they are putting the health of their smiles in danger. Aside from staining your teeth, there are some serious risks to your oral health. Knowing these risks will make you an informed vaper.
Did you know the nicotine you inhale from vaping acts as a muscle stimulant? Because it stimulates the muscle, it can cause your jaws to clench. When you involuntarily clench your teeth, this is called bruxism, and it can lead to serious tooth damage.
If you already grind your teeth during sleep, vaping can make matters worse. You could experience cracking and breaking in your teeth. Bruxism can be treated by a dentist who can fit a mouth guard for their patients.
Those who have been vaping for any length of time will discover it causes dry mouth. Nicotine leads to a reduction in saliva production. You may feel like you have cotton mouth, no matter how much water you drink.
While this may seem like a simple annoyance, it can cause tooth decay. Saliva helps to break down the foods in your mouth and keep bacteria under control. With a lack of saliva, bacteria will begin to take over.
Decreased saliva also leads to increased plaque buildup. Plaque buildup will eventually cause tooth decay, and it can happen at a faster rate than in those who do not vape.
Unfortunately, nicotine also causes problems with gum health. Nicotine reduces blood flow in the gums. When blood flow is reduced, your gum tissue does not get the oxygen and nutrients it needs for proper health. Eventually, this will lead to receding gum tissue. Gum tissue is essential for protecting the vulnerable tooth roots that are not covered with enamel. When the roots are exposed, because of gum tissue death, rapid decay will begin to occur.
Vaping Increases the Prevalence of Gum Disease
Studies have also proven vapers are more likely to develop gum disease. You already know nicotine decreases blood flow to the gum tissue, but it also causes swelling and inflammation.
It is imperative vapers keep a close watch on their oral health. Problems can arise quickly and should never be ignored. If you notice any of the following, schedule a dental exam right away.
- Red and swollen gum tissue
- Gum irritation and pain
- Receding gum tissue
- Bleeding gums
- Pus drainage
- Foul breath
- Loose teeth
As gum disease progresses, your teeth will no longer be supported, and they can loosen. Tooth loss can occur with vaping, so these symptoms should never be ignored.
How to Protect Your Smile While Vaping
Now, you know vaping poses some of the same dangers as smoking cigarettes. If you plan to continue vaping, there are some steps to take to protect your teeth and gums.
See the Dentist
You need to see your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and examinations. Those who see their dentists often are less likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease.
Should you notice any of the above signs, schedule a dental appointment right away. Gum disease is more easily treated when caught in the early stages.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing regularly are integral for your oral health. Most people need to brush and floss twice a day. Vapers should consider brushing after each vaping session, or at the very least, rinsing their mouths with fresh water. Brushing and flossing are your first defenses against plaque buildup, which will lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Those who suffer from dry mouth may need to talk to their dentist about mouthwash. Chronically dry mouth can be relieved with special moisturizing mouthwashes that help to keep the mouth refreshed. Some mouth rinses can be used after vaping, to help soothe the mouth and stop irritation.
Your dentist can offer a plan of care to help ensure your oral health is protected. They can advise vapers on the steps they need to take to make sure their teeth are not vulnerable.
Vaping is just as dangerous, if not more so, than smoking cigarettes. Because many people consider vaping a safe alternative, they do not always work to protect their teeth and gums from damage.
If you are vaping because you consider it safer, you have been misled. Vaping is no safer than smoking. Please practice care when vaping and protect your teeth and gums. Damage can occur over time and is often hidden until major oral health issues progress.
Those who want to vape safely should follow the advice above. It takes a concerted effort to protect the health of your smile, but it is worth the effort.
You can continue to enjoy vaping, but be mindful of the risks. Do everything possible to protect your teeth and gums by brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist as often as recommended. With care, you can vape more safely.