e-Cigarettes, Vaping and Dental Health
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are hand held battery powered vaporizers that offer some of the same effects of smoking cigarettes without the burning of tobacco. The practice of turning to e-cigarettes and “vaping” as an alternative to smoking is becoming common. Most vaping products contain nicotine; just like tobacco products, nicotine gum and patches. But is vaping a better or healthier alternative to tobacco products? While we don’t have a stance on whether vaping is healthier than cigarettes, we do have advice and insight on how vaping can impact your oral health.
How vaping can impact your oral health
One of the addictive ingredients in cigarettes is nicotine. Nicotine is also present in most e-cigarettes and vaping products. One of it’s effects is that it constricts blood vessels. Constricted blood vessels means less oxygen rich blood is flowing to the effected area. Your mouth and gums are full of blood vessels. When you vape, some of the vapor and nicotine is absorbed in your gums, constricting the blood vessels in the mouth. Chronic, decreased blood-flow to the gums can contribute to gum disease. Another nasty effect of nicotine is that it can cause the gums to actually recede and expose a greater portion of the tooth. If gum recession goes too far, the root of the tooth - which is softer and less protected than the enamel - could be exposed to decay.
Vaping can also cause dry-mouth, which accelerates tooth decay. Chronic dry mouth allows bacteria stay on your teeth. Those bacteria produce a highly acidic environment that erodes the enamel of your teeth. This erosion of enamel is called “tooth decay” and can cause many dental issues like cavities and bad breathe. Combine this dry-mouth with receding gums (a side effect of nicotine) and you are exposing more of the surface of your teeth to this dry, bacteria rich environment.
Talking to your dentist
Those who turn to vaping should talk to their dentist to get special recommendations for their oral hygiene plan. Check-ups and cleanings every 6-months are a good idea, or more frequently if your dentist recommends it.
Have questions about oral health? Contact Lorentzen Dental today to book an appointment for a cleaning and exam - complete with digital x-rays.