Vaping and Oral Health
June 5, 2019
They are everywhere. In the park, on the street, even in schools. The vaping epidemic has spread across the country, and children are using e-cigarettes more than ever. An estimated 2.1 million middle and highschoolers partake in vaping, with the most common vape device being the Juul. Juul is known for its sleek design and fun flavors like mango, fruit melody, mint, and cucumber. Although thought to be safer, vaping can be detrimental to one’s oral health as it causes a variety of problems such as dry mouth, inflamed gums, and overall irritation.
The most common effect that vaping has on your oral health is that it causes dry mouth, a condition where your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Vaping provokes dry mouth with one of its e-liquid components: propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is hydrophilic, meaning it draws water away from where it is supposed to be. Though dry mouth is not painful, it can lead to many serious oral diseases such as gum disease and tooth decay and cause bad breath.
Another effect that vaping has on your oral health is that it inflames your gums. Gums are just as valuable as our teeth, as they play a huge role in dental health, so it is crucial we take care of them. Inflamed gums can be caused by a variety of things, one of them being vaping. Nicotine kills gum tissue and restricts the flow of blood to the mouth, causing the gums to be sensitive and easily damaged. Inflamed gums can lead to gum disease, which can permanently destroy your teeth and causes bad breath. Nicotine also masks the symptoms of gum disease, making it even harder to detect.
Vaping causes cell death. For a healthy mouth to thrive, it needs a safe environment for its cells to live. Vaping ruins this environment by releasing dangerous aerosols, which speed up the aging process of the cells in your mouth, causing them to die. The loss of cells can lead to a variety of problems, such as tooth loss, tooth decay, and bad breath.
Nicotine is arguably the most dangerous part of vaping, and kids as young as thirteen are getting addicted. One electronic vape cartridge is equal to one or two packs of cigarettes. Although containing less nicotine than cigarettes, vaping will still destroy your gums and cause tooth loss.
Studies show that only one in four kids who vape will end up quitting and that kids who vape are more likely to start smoking real cigarettes. The long term effects of vaping are still unknown, as they have only been around for a few years. The damage that e-cigarettes have on your oral health is harsh and in some cases, irreversible. If you never start, you will never have to quit but always remember that it’s never too late to quit!
If you fear that vaping has damaged your teeth, schedule an appointment with our office for an exam. There are things we can do to help. Call us at (706) 882-2597 to speak with our staff or click here to schedule an appointment online.