Mistakenly, many people believe vaping is safe because it does not contain tobacco smoke like cigarettes do.
There is not much awareness around the dangers of vaping, which contains nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals.
Concerningly, these substances can cause irreversible damage to your lungs and heart.
Vaping is also linked to a higher risk of cavities and other dental problems. While there still isn’t a lot of research in the area, we know a number of things.
We know that vaping alters the oral microbiome (community of bacteria), which leads to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Even e-cigarettes without nicotine heat up the mouth and create the ideal environment for bad bacteria to thrive. It seems the addition of nicotine only makes these conditions worse.
Oral health problems commonly associated with vaping:
- Gum disease
- Enamel deterioration
- Dry mouth
We know that vaping creates an unhealthy environment in the microbiome of the mouth.
A study by New York University’s College of Dentistry shows that e-cigarette users share oral bacteria in common with cigarette smokers. Harmful bacteria such as Selenomonas, Leptotrichia and Saccharibacteria were found to be plentiful in the mouths of vapers and smokers, but not for non-smokers.
Consider that nicotine limits the flow of blood to gums, which heightens the risk for gum disease. This risk is further exacerbated by the addition of vaping chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde.
The sugary content of vaping formula could be another culprit, as this sticky substance clings to teeth when inhaled. Vaping aerosols can make the oral environment more inviting to bad bacteria, and even encourage decay at the bottom of the front teeth (this region isn’t usually susceptible to decay).
There’s still a lot that we don’t know about the link between vaping and dental problems.
So, what can you do to prevent and treat this?
Naturally, the best cause of action is to stop vaping completely, in order to prevent damage from occurring in the first place.
You may benefit from a high strength fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to keep bacteria at bay.
If you or your teen are finding it difficult to quit vaping, please speak to your doctor or call the Quitline in your state or territory (free service – 13 78 48 in NSW).
Even if you don’t stop vaping, you can take measures to look after your oral health as best you can.
- Clean teeth and gums every morning and night
- Floss once a day
- Stay on top of your water intake
- Chew sugar-free gum to stop your mouth from getting dry
- Alcohol in moderation (or none at all)
- Don’t take recreational drugs
We recommend that people who vape visit their dentist at least twice a year, to ensure that any signs of decay are treated before the bacteria spreads and becomes harder to manage.