E-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to conventional cigarettes. Although they’ve allowed many people to avoid cigarettes, they still utilize nicotine. The adjustable amounts of this highly addictive poison that are used in e-cigarettes can still harm your smile. It’s important to note that since e-cigarettes are relatively new, they haven’t been thoroughly studied. This means that there could be many more uncovered risks from using these popular cigarette alternatives. How do e-cigarettes contribute to oral health problems?
E-Cigarettes Can Harm Your Gums
E-cigarettes still deliver nicotine to your body. Nicotine can contribute to receding gums as well as gingivitis and periodontal disease. The symptoms of these problems include receding or bleeding gums, red and swollen gums, and gum tenderness. Nicotine does this by restricting blood flow to your gums, so they aren’t receiving the proper amount of oxygen they need to remain healthy. People who use e-cigarettes often notice that their gums begin to pull back from their teeth, but they also tend to be lacking in other symptoms of gum disease.
Nicotine Masks Symptoms of Gum Disease
Since nicotine causes your blood vessels to constrict and reduce blood flow, it can actually hide many of the symptoms of gum disease. When your gums aren’t getting the oxygen or blood they need, they likely won’t bleed, swell, or be red. This means you could still have gum disease as a result of smoking e-cigarettes but not be experiencing the symptoms. This is dangerous because it can fool not only patients but even oral health care professionals into thinking that your gums are healthy. One symptom it doesn’t mask is gum recession, so if you notice this, schedule to see your dentist right away.
If you do smoke e-cigarettes, be sure to tell your dentist so that he or she can thoroughly examine your gums to ensure you’re not suffering from gum disease. Your dentist can do this by checking for abnormal pockets of space around your teeth.
E-Cigarettes Can Contribute to Dry Mouth and Bruxism
Nicotine is a known stimulant, which can affect the muscles in your body. Your jaw muscles are very powerful and can be easily be affected by nicotine. If you do suffer from teeth grinding (also called bruxism), the delivery of nicotine in the form of e-cigarettes can cause your bruxism to worsen. If you don’t grind your teeth, nicotine can be responsible for the onset of this dangerous and extremely damaging habit.
E-cigarettes can also be responsible for causing dry mouth because nicotine inhibits saliva production. Saliva is very important for fresh breath, preventing tooth decay, and keeping our gums healthy. When your mouth lacks the proper amount of saliva, you’re more at risk to suffer from oral health problems.
Although e-cigarettes are rumored to be not quite as dangerous as traditional cigarettes, scientists are still uncovering the effects of these nicotine vessels. It’s crucial that you research the risks and make an informed decision about e-cigarettes. Talk with your dentist about the risks, and learn more about quitting nicotine for good!