Vaping, the practice of using e-cigarettes—an electronic form of the real thing—has become
much more popular in recent years. Consumers are convinced these smoking devices are less
harmful than traditional cigarettes, making their use prevalent among teens and adults alike.
Since e-cigarettes and vaping are relatively new, long-term research isn’t available, but what we
do know about these devices gives us pause when it comes to your oral health as well as the
health of your entire body. Here’s how vaping impacts your oral health.
Vaping Causes Inflammation of Gum Tissue
Contrary to the belief of some people, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine. When used, they burn
nicotine and other chemicals for you to inhale.
Although extensive data regarding e-cigarettes is lacking, the same is not true for nicotine. We
know that nicotine inhibits blood flow to the soft tissues in the oral cavity, which can not only
mask symptoms of disease, but create a poor immune response to infection.
What this means for you is that you may have severe gum disease and not show many
symptoms. Nicotine can cause your gum tissue to recede and often by the time the user
realizes there’s a problem, periodontal disease is widespread.
Nicotine in E-Cigarettes Leads to Dry Mouth
The nicotine in e-cigarettes can also cause dry mouth. By drying out the mouth, these devices
can increase your risk for both tooth decay and gum disease.
Our saliva is meant to protect our teeth and help balance our oral bacteria. When saliva
production is inhibited by nicotine, the tissues of your mouth aren’t getting the necessary
nutrients to remain healthy. The lack of saliva can cause bacteria to attack your tooth enamel
and cause tooth decay.
If you choose to use e-cigarettes, staying hydrated by sipping water throughout the day is
important to help your smile stay healthy!
You Increase Your Risk of Oral Cancer with Vaping
Published research about e-cigarettes is finding more and more dangerous chemicals in these
products. Toxic chemicals and heavy metals present in e-cigarettes are damaging to the lungs
when inhaled. These chemicals have the potential to be carcinogenic, and since the vapor is
coming into direct contact with the mouth, your risk for oral cancer is increased.
Inhaling these heavy metals and chemicals in the form of vapor can aggravate the lungs and
worsen existing respiratory conditions such as asthma. Other e-cigarette users can develop
severe, life-threatening reactions such as wet lung, where the lungs are in distress and are
unable to get oxygen into the blood due to the presence of chemicals, an injury, or an infection.
Although vaping has been marketed as being “safer” than cigarettes, the jury is still out on this
one. The presence of nicotine and other chemicals make these smoking devices a threat to your
oral health, increasing your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. If you choose to
use these products, visiting your dentist can help you maintain the health of your teeth and