Is Vaping Bad for Teeth and Gums?

Smoking is one of the hardest habits to break, but increasing numbers of Americans are finding some success with e-cigarettes, which deliver a vapor cloud of nicotine-laced liquid. Inhaling e-cigarettes, more commonly known as vaping, has become hugely popular as a “safer alternative” to smoking – it has even caught on with non-smokers too! While e-cigs have considerably lower nicotine levels than their tobacco counterparts, there has been much debate about how safe vaping is for your oral and dental health.

Since vaping is still relatively new, there is little in the way of evidence about its long-term health effects. We already know that the ash and tar from tobacco cigarettes leave a tell-tale residue that stains tooth enamel, and that smokers are more prone to gum infections, halitosis and tooth loss — not to mention oral and lung cancers.

Dental side effects of vaping

It’s reasonable to venture that vaping is probably safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. However, the underlying culprit in both pastimes is nicotine, which is known to be a hazardous and highly addictive chemical. Statistically speaking, nicotine is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States.

And while nicotine levels in e-cigarettes are lower, vapers are still putting themselves at risk for the same types of dental problems faced by smokers, including:

  • Gingivitis
  • Sensitive gums that bleed easily
  • Gum recession
  • Dry mouth

These unpleasant dental side effects are mostly attributed to the vaso-constricting actions of nicotine. In other words, nicotine restricts normal blood circulation in your mouth, which means that less oxygen reaches your gums making them more susceptible to infection.

Vapers who have been diagnosed with gum disease often complain of irritated and swollen gums that bleed easily – symptoms which are only exacerbated by using e-cigarettes.

Is vaping the safest alternative to smoking?

Some health experts say that smokers who are trying to quit may be better off with nicotine gum or a nicotine patch, which have been on the market for years and have a solid safety profile.

New regulations currently in the works at the FDA may soon ban e-cigarette manufacturers from touting their products as a safe substitute to smoking without submitting data that backs up such claims.

Over the past years, the FDA has logged the following adverse events in connection with vaping:

  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Disorientation
  • Congestive heart failure

Recommendations from Long Island dentists

In terms of protecting your dental and general health, the best option is to kick the nicotine habit once and for all.

To learn more about solutions for periodontal disease, tooth loss and gum recession caused by smoking or vaping, please contact Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Elliot or Dr. Nick.

Our Suffolk County practice provides a full complement of cosmetic and general dentistry services including dental implants, gum grafting, CEREC crowns and teeth whitening.

Request an appointment today by calling (631) 319-9509.

Resources:

  1. FDA, Electronic Cigarettes (e-Cigarettes) http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm172906.htm
  2. WebMD, E-Cigarettes 101 http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/features/electronic-cigarettes

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Ava Lawson

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