Vaping and Your Oral Health: What You May Not Know!
By : Abby Ruiz
Most people are now likely aware of the negative effects of smoking cigarettes to their overall and oral health, however what is less known are the effects that vaping has on your oral health. Although this is a healthier alternative to smoking, there are still some negative side effects that we believe everyone should be aware of.
First off, what exactly is vaping? Vaping is the process of consuming nicotine or other substances through a vaporizer or an electronic cigarette. Vaping allows you to consume nicotine at controlled levels without actually smoking cigarettes and is often used as an aid to quit smoking. These battery powered devices heat liquid (also known as e-juice) to produce a fog-like vapor. The number of people in Canada who use vaporizers/e-cigarettes has tripled over the last four years and its popularity continues to grow as the years progress.
Vaping became a much more effective and safer alternative in comparison to smoking cigarettes. Although vape oil/e-juice does not contain any tobacco – which is the main ingredient in cigarettes – it may contain nicotine, which can pose a variety of significant health risks on its own. Although there are options of using nicotine-free oils, the majority of people using vaporizers do prefer adding nicotine to their oils.
As this new trend becomes more prominent in our society, we, at Credit River Dental Centre, want everyone who currently vapes or is considering vaping to understand and educate themselves about the potential consequences behind it.
Here are five ways vaping can affect your oral health :
- Increased Risk of Tooth decay
- Regardless of if there is nicotine or not, vaping tends to dry out the mouth. Salivary flow is crucial to maintaining good oral health because it protects us by breaking down food particles and allows the good bacteria to work in our mouths.
- Bad Breath
- Since nicotine compromises your body’s ability to produce saliva – your mouth’s self-cleansing agent – you are more likely to have excess build up of bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to bad breath.
- Bruxism/Tooth Grinding
- Nicotine stimulates your muscles, which can make you feel restless or agitated, triggering bruxism. Teeth grinding causes wear to the enamel, which can eventually lead to exposed dentin and increased temperature sensitivity.
- Periodontal Disease
- Nicotine consumption can lead to gum disease because it causes the blood vessels to shrink. This compromises the blood flow and negatively impacts our immune cell function. Due to less blood flow and a weakened immune defense response, the risk of gum disease becomes much more significant.
- Gum Recession
- Vaping and smoking can both cause damage to tissue cells in your mouth. Due to the lack of blood flow to the gums, your gums are unable of receiving the nutrients and oxygen that it needs. This can cause the gums to recede and also cause pockets to form in between your gums and your teeth.
Due to the multiple effects of vaping to your oral health, you may be wondering what you can do in order to reduce the risks and damage caused by regular vape use. In order to prevent these effects, you must aim to maintain exceptional oral hygiene practices. You should be brushing your teeth at least two to three times daily, flossing daily, brushing your tongue and using an antibacterial mouth rinse to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Increasing your water intake and frequent rinsing can also aid in avoiding dry mouth. Due to the effects of nicotine, switching to lower nicotine or no nicotine e-liquids will also be helpful in reducing the effects. We also recommend scheduling regular hygiene appointments in order for us to monitor your oral health status and prevent progression of gum disease.
As your Mississauga Dentist, your oral health is our top priority. Our goal is to ensure that we are able to provide you with the information needed in order to educate you on achieving your optimal oral health. If you have any further questions, you can contact our team at Credit River Dental Centre at 905-278-4297.