Most people know how bad chewing tobacco and cigarettes are for their dental health as well as their bodily health. However, people who quit smoking often reach for e-cigarettes as a replacement. Electronic cigarettes, also called vape pens or “vaping”, are electronic devices that contain cartridges of nicotine mixed with flavorings that produce an aerosol, more commonly called a “vapor”, when inhaled.
Although e-cigarettes tend to be less harmful to your health than conventional cigarettes, they still are far from healthy. But what about it comes to your teeth and gums? We know that tobacco can cause gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Let’s take a closer look to find out if vaping is just as bad for your smile.
You Still Have a Higher Risk for Oral Cancer
People who use tobacco are 10 times more likely to get oral cancer than people who don’t; however, vaping still increases your risk for oral cancer . E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, including known carcinogens formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, along with heavy metals, which can increase your risk for cancer, including oral cancer. The “vapor”, which is actually an aerosol, produced by these products can cause cell damage that can lead to oral cancer.
Vaping Can Cause Damage to Gum Tissue
The chemicals that e-cigarettes produce when inhaled can cause cell inflammation, which can cause damage to the softer tissues of the mouth, namely, your gum tissue . Research shows that the flavorings used in e-cigarettes can also contribute to cell damage. In addition, since e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which reduces blood flow to the oral cavity, they can also mask the symptoms of gum disease, which can allow the condition to progress unnoticed until you have more severe symptoms.
E-Cigarette Flavorings Can Damage Teeth
Research shows that many popular flavorings in vaping products contain chemical properties that are similar to high-sugar foods and drinks, notably sticky candies and sodas . As a result, the vapor increases plaque in the oral cavity and can lead to tooth enamel damage, which can increase your risk for tooth discoloration, tooth sensitivity, and cavities. You’re at more risk for tooth enamel damage if you also consume a diet high in sugar in addition to using e cigarettes.
What’s the Verdict?
Although vaping is generally less harmful to your oral health than tobacco products, it is still not healthy and remains dangerous . In addition, since e-cigarettes are a relatively new product compared to tobacco, researchers are still learning about all of the ways it can affect your body and your dental health. The healthiest thing you can do for your smile is to abstain from smoking and vaping completely. Thinking about quitting? Ask your dentist for more information and resources on how to safely kick the habit for good!