In recent years, vaping has become a popular alternative to smoking. While vapes and e-cigarettes were initially hailed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, there is much that we still don’t know about their long-term effects on health—including oral health.
Although research is still ongoing, there are some early studies that show vaping can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
The general consensus among health professionals is that vaping is less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. However, that doesn’t make it healthy. The best option for both your oral and overall health is to avoid any type of smoking altogether—be it cigarettes or e-cigarettes.
Why is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?
In order to understand why vaping can be harmful to your teeth, it is important to first understand what vaping is. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol, also known as vapour, produced by an e-cigarette or similar device.
An e-cigarette is usually a battery-powered device that heats a liquid, commonly known as e-liquid or vape juice, into an aerosol that can be inhaled. Ingredients in e-liquids and their aerosols can have an adverse effect on your oral health.
Common Side Effects of Vaping
While more research is still needed to fully understand the long-term effects of vaping on your health, it is understood that vaping can have a negative impact on the health of your teeth and gums.
Some common side effects of vaping include:
- Dry mouth
- Plaque buildup
- Gum inflammation
- Stained or discoloured teeth
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Receding gums
Vape Liquids & Your Oral Health
There are a wide variety of e-liquids available for purchase in Canada, with a diverse list of ingredients. According to Health Canada, there are an average of 22 chemicals in Canadian vaping products. E-liquids commonly contain flavouring ingredients and nicotine, both of which have been directly linked to dental problems.
Some ingredients to look out for in vape products include:
- Propylene glycol: Propylene glycol is a viscous, colourless liquid commonly used as the base for vape liquids. When used orally, propylene glycol can break down and produce acetic and lactic acids, both of which can wear down tooth enamel.
- Vegetable glycerin and flavourings: Vegetable glycerin is another common ingredient found in vape juice. It can be particularly damaging to your teeth when combined with other flavouring ingredients. According to one study, there was a 27% decrease in enamel hardness when flavoured vape liquid was used, as opposed to unflavoured liquid.
- Nicotine: While vaping products may not contain tobacco, they often contain nicotine extracted from tobacco plants. Vaping and smoking products that contain nicotine can cause gum irritation and even gum disease.
How to Protect Your Teeth from Vaping
If you do vape, it is important to take steps to protect your oral health. These steps may include:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene: Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly to remove plaque buildup. This can help prevent cavity-causing plaque buildup and promote gum health. Choose dental products that contain fluoride to help strengthen enamel.
- Drinking water after you vape: This may help prevent dry mouth caused by vaping, which can contribute to bad breath and tooth decay.
- Avoiding vaping products that contain flavouring or nicotine: Both flavouring chemicals and nicotine can contribute to tooth decay and gum irritation. Opt for an unflavoured nicotine-free e-liquid.
- Visiting your dentist regularly: Routine checkups and cleanings with your dentist are an important part of maintaining good oral health for anyone. Regular appointments with your dentist can help detect and treat conditions like tooth decay and gum disease in their earliest, most easily treatable stages.
Your Partner in Dental Care
The knowledgeable team at Heritage Pointe Dental is here to support all your oral health needs. At our office in South Calgary, we are happy to offer routine dental exams and cleanings. Contact our team today to book an appointment!