“I want to quit smoking cigarettes. Is vaping safer? Is this okay for my teeth?” -Pauline M., San Antonio, TX.
Vapes, vape pens or mods. There are many names for electronic cigarettes, which are nicotine-carrying devices popular among teens and young adults. Some people seem to be choosing e-cigs, because they believe these devices are a safer alternative than traditional cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 people in the U.S. every year. More than 41,000 of these deaths are from exposure to second-hand smoke.
The health risks of vaping are far less known than the potential dangers of cigarette use. However, a study released in February 2018 by researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University found e-cigarettes have the potential of releasing significant amounts of toxic metals in vapors inhaled by users. Scientists examined 56 e-cigarette users, and discovered a significant number of e-cigarettes released vapor with potentially unsafe levels of lead, chromium, manganese, and/or nickel.
The American Lung Association says the exact ingredients of e-cigarettes are unknown because the FDA doesn’t regulate these products. And so there are not requirements for ingredient disclosure, warning labels or youth access restrictions. There are nearly 500 brands and more than 7 thousand flavors of e-cigs on sale.
WHAT DOES VAPING DO TO MY TEETH?
E-cigs are battery-operated devices that often, look like pens. The ends of the device heat up a liquid that turns into an aerosol. The liquid in e-cigarettes contain flavorings and chemicals.
Don’t forget. Most e-cigs contain nicotine too. The chemical compound is proven to cause damage to your mouth.
NICOTINE AND YOUR ORAL HEALTH
Nicotine is harmful to your gums. It reduces the amount of blood flow in your body. It will choke the tissues in your mouth. The lack of blood flow can lead to deterioration of the gums.
A study published by the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology found that nicotine increased the risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and represents the first stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that leads to loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth.
NICOTINE AND DRY MOUTH
Nicotine is proven to reduce the production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria build-up. A lack of moisture in your mouth may make you susceptible to halitosis (bad breath) or tooth decay. It can result in slow healing of the mouth and a dulled sense of taste or smell.
“We don’t recommend vaping for anyone. We would just prefer you not smoke at all,” said Dr. Laura Benjamin of the team at Advanced Smile Care. “But if you are vaping, we advise you to stay on top of your dental visits and your hygiene cleanings.”