Most people are aware that smoking causes a whole lot of problems with oral health. And as such, people have begun to question whether vaping is the same. Although research on vaping and oral health, is relatively new compared to smoking, there is still quite a variety of studies out there and experts with their say on the matter.
Smoking and oral health
First off, smoking is obviously unhealthy for a great many reasons, including your dental health. Smoking creates at least three long-terms effects which include bacteria, teeth staining, poor circulation, all of which can lead to gum disease. When you smoke it can damage your teeth in various ways including limiting your mouth’s ability to fight infection.
Smoke, nicotine and tar all aid in creating and sustaining bacteria in your mouth, made noticeable by teeth staining and yellowing. Combined with the grit of the tobacco smoke you inhale that rubs and chips against your teeth, it can weaken your enamel. This can eventually lead to tooth loss. Smoke inhalation also decreases your circulation which would normally help remove bacteria from your mouth, but due to the decrease, it ends up leaving bacteria to linger.
Vaping and oral health
With more people than ever making the switch to vaping some are beginning to question whether vaping has a similar impact on oral health. As mentioned, there is still a lot to be researched on with the topic, as one of the main problems with most studies is that by comparison, smoking groups in these studies tend to have smoked for a much longer time than the vapers have been vaping. And as you’d expect many vapers have previously been smoking so may already have existing oral health issues.
Similarly, some studies have looked at tooth decay and vaping’s effects on gum cells in laboratory settings that don’t accurately mimic real-life settings.
What we do know though is that vaping doesn’t produce any particulate matter unlike smoking, meaning that bacteria in less likely to be produced. E-Liquids contain propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavourings, none of which have been proven to put the user at risk of coming into contact with bacteria or mould. Teeth staining becomes a different matter as this is often a by-product from nicotine and tar. Although vaping doesn’t produce tar, most vapes do including nicotine so there is still potential for some tooth discoloration.
One of the main concerns raised by those who vape is that they experience a dry mouth, something that dentists aren’t too happy with. But it is easily remedied by keeping hydrated. It’s important to note that none of these concerns are as damaging as those done by smoking, but there is still some harm involved especially for those who have never smoked.
Some of the most common questions about vaping and oral health
Can a dentist tell if you vape?
Yes, it’s very likely your dentist will be able to tell if you vape due to tell-tale signs such as teeth yellowing and possible redness to your gums. If you’re an ex-smoker the signs may not be as noticeable due to the effects of smoking being much stronger, but if you have never smoked and have vaped, a dentist is likely to notice.
What if I vape nicotine free E-Liquids?
Nicotine is one of the things that can make your teeth yellow/stain, so in theory vaping without nicotine could reduce your chance of tooth discoloration.
Will vaping stain my teeth?
As most vapes include nicotine there is a good chance that vaping could stain your teeth. The effects may not be as strong as those who smoke due to the staining of tobacco and tar, but it cannot be completely ruled out.
Will vaping give me gum disease?
There is always the potential of gum disease if you do not regularly keep a good oral hygiene routine. Vaping can create a dry mouth and some studies claim that it can also irritate gums due to the nicotine and heat. Many of these things can be avoided or lessened by continuing to take care of your teeth with regularly cleaning and keeping hydrated.
If you’re worried about gum disease or experience any symptoms (bleeding/swollen gums, changes in sensitivity to temperature, frequent dry mouth, loose teeth, mouth ulcers, toothache or receding gums), get in contact with your dentist or oral healthcare provider.
Can I improve my oral health while vaping?
Yes you can take measures to help protect and improve your oral health. For one, quitting smoking is a big step in improving your oral health. Keeping a good cleaning regime and regularly visiting the dentists will help protect your oral health. Vaping is much less harmful for you than smoking but there is still some harm introduced but many of these problems can be rectified or helped with proper help and good habits.
Are sweet flavour vapes worse for my teeth?
There is much debate on this topic at the moment. Some studies have suggested that sweet flavoured vapes could be just as bad for our teeth as sugary foods or drinks. However, most of these studies have been in laboratory settings with methods that are not necessarily true reflections of real-life environments. More in depth studies would need to be conducted to find any true correlation between sweet flavoured vapes and tooth decay.