A common question we ask patients when they visit Danville Family Dentistry’s Hendricks County office is, “Do you smoke?” Some patients may reply, “No, I don’t smoke. I vape. Does vaping really matter?” Well, yes, the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) can affect your oral health.
What Is Vaping?
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a flavored liquid, turning it into an aerosol mist. This vapor is inhaled by the user. The term “vaping” comes from the word vapor. Vaping gives Hendricks County users a similar experience as smoking a conventional cigarette does – but without the use of actual tobacco that produces tar.
Electronic cigarette liquid cartridges contain a solution comprised of:
- A diluent or carrier – Typically, the diluent is propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine that produces the vapor.
- A flavoring – Common flavors include tobacco, menthol or fruits to give the vapor a taste.
- Nicotine – On average, from 0 to 36 mg/ml.
The Risks of Vaping to Your Oral Health
Unfortunately, e-cigarettes have not been fully studied by the medical community. Therefore, the full impact that electronic cigarettes may have on users is unknown. However, data about the effects of nicotine on oral health is available. And dentists, like Dr. Jon Erickson, have seen first-hand cases of the consequences of vaping.
Nicotine can contribute to the development of gum disease. Since nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, it reduces the amount of blood that gets to your gums. When your gums don’t receive enough oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood, your gum tissues can’t rejuvenate or heal if damaged, and they will start to die. Your gums will begin to recede and pull away from your teeth.
Other vaping effects on your oral health include:
- Stomatitis – Inflammation of the mouth, including the inside of your cheeks, gums, tongue, lips and palate. Inflammation can cause canker or cold sores to develop.
- Xerostomia or dry mouth – Due to decreased salvia production. Dry mouth makes you more susceptible to bacteria buildup and tooth decay.
- Chemical burns on your palate from the e-cigarette fluid.
- Bad breath.
Another issue with vaping is it can cause Hendricks County users to start smoking or go back to smoking conventional cigarettes. Smoking tobacco can cause additional oral health issues, such as tooth loss, jaw bone loss and the development of oral cancers.
Let Us Help
Therefore, the staff at Danville Family Dentistry recommends that you quit vaping for better oral health and overall well-being. If you have any questions about how vaping can affect your teeth and gums, talk to Dr. Erickson. And, if you do vape, remember to schedule regular cleanings and checkups to keep your smile healthy.