Vaping: The damage it causes to your teeth
Vaping has become the social norm for teenagers and young adults within the last 4 years with no insight on how damaging it can be for your teeth. We have teamed up with Dr Kiren Johal for some insight on vaping.
It is safe to say we all know how bad smoking is for your oral health. It stains your teeth, can contribute to tooth loss, cause gum disease, and even worse… oral cancer. Studies show that in 2022, a whopping 3.1 / 3.2 million UK users are vaping… that’s a crazy amount of people inhaling flavored liquid.
You only have one set of teeth for the rest of your life, and it is sure expensive to fix them once the damage has been made, so if you are vaping, let us Enlighten you with the help of Dr. Kiren Johal, who has been a dentist for the last 15 years, about the effects that smoking / vaping has on the teeth.
Vapes aren’t mates!
Within the last 4 years, cigarettes have become less of a fad and vaping has skyrocketed in sales. Vaping was introduced by a Chinese pharmacist to prevent more people from smoking cigarettes, which in turn worked as a treat… fewer smokers but more vapers, and most people that you pass on the street are followed by a flavored cloud of smoke.
Endless appealing vape flavors have encouraged the younger generation to enjoy the taste of smoking, but with no second thought to how the vapor and ingredients are damaging your teeth and overall health.
What’s in your vapes?
One of the main ingredients in vape juice is propylene glycol (PG), which is marked technically safe to inhale but when used orally breaks down into acids that damage enamel and propionaldehyde which irritates soft tissue. Some of the cheaper branded companies selling vape liquid and disposable pens include carcinogens, which have the ability to cause cancer, companies have also been found to use products like antifreeze.
If you are to purchase vape liquid, do some research first about where you are purchasing the liquid from. Anything you put into your mouth to smoke is instantly going to damage the inside of your mouth, teeth, and especially the gums. Your gums are very sensitive when it comes to smoke/vapor, so here is an insight into what it does.
Don’t be dumb to your gums!
One major factor in vaping/smoking is gum disease, which is not always noticeable to the user who is smoking or vaping. The most common side effect can be bleeding gums. However, this isn’t always the case. Nicotine can reduce the blood flow to your gums, which means they will not be able to heal and therefore not know you have gum disease, so in effect, you can have gum disease and not know and make it worse when you intake any nicotine.
Make sure you visit the dentist regularly and we can help guide you in the right direction. Since vapes were introduced mainly to steer smokers away from cigarettes and onto plastic, let’s have a look at what smoke can do to your oral health.
Every cigarette you smoke contains on average 0.7 mg of nicotine and 6mg of tar which then instantly sticks to your gums and the inside of your mouth which reduces the mouth’s ability to fight off any oral infections. This can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria, which then contributes to gum disease, and eventually, loss of teeth, which can affect the cosmetics chewing and instability in the bite, sounds divine doesn’t it! It’s never too late to quit, but it will be too late when you’re in the dental chair being seen for tooth extractions due to damage caused by smoking. There are alternative methods to fight a nicotine addiction:
- Chewing gum that releases small doses of nicotine
- Skin patches, these release nicotine slowly to maintain a less intense and low-level nicotine intake
- Tablets, oral strips, and lozenges
- Nasal and mouth spray
- or you can seek therapy/hypnosis for further analysis if the above methods do not prevent you from quitting
Anything that exposes your gums directly to heat and nicotine will make you more likely to develop oral health problems and eventually the loss of your teeth or cause cracks and holes in your teeth which are known as cavities.
Cavities are not a new fashion trend!
If you have ever gone to the dentist and had to get a filling then, unfortunately, you have what is known as a cavity. Cavities are caused by sugary drinks, not brushing your teeth properly, or creating unwanted bacteria in your mouth. Vaping/smoking is a leading cause of increasing chances of getting a cavity due to the nicotine and flavored e-liquid. If you continue to vape/smoke with un-noticed cavities, this will cause your tooth to become extremely infected which can lead to more extreme invasive treatments like root canals.
Constantly filling your mouth with sugar-rich vapor gives the bacteria in your mouth the means to endlessly produce acid. Of course not all vape liquids contain sugar, however, be mindful of trying to choose sugar-free vape liquids. Cavities aren’t the only problem you will face when using your vapes, oh no, there’s something that most vapers will be facing on a daily basis… dry mouth!
Dry mouth… yuck!
Have you ever noticed that after vaping you are left with a dry mouth? Well, that’s simply because when you’re inhaling the vapor the Propylene Glycol absorbs the moisture from your mouth, and the saliva sticks to the smoke, leaving your mouth to be super dry. Constantly having a dry mouth will eventually lead to having bad breath…and nobody wants that!
If you are experiencing a dry mouth and you are not replacing your fluids gradually, your body will start to feel dehydrated. Your body is made up of 90% water but your brain makes up 80% of that, so if you let the figures drop slightly chances are you will start to feel a headache coming on. If your headache is not going away that may also mean you are vaping too much (chain vaping), and your nicotine levels are higher than you are used to. That sounds like a headache to us!
If you vape and are currently reading this blog then STOP, put the vape down and read! If you continue to vape which means you are neglecting your oral health, you will eventually face some serious health problems down the line, not just to your teeth but to your overall health:
- You are releasing free radicals in the vapour which promote cancer development into the body
- You are going to weaken the enamel on your teeth causing severe sensitivity
- Increase the growth of bacteria which will build up in the pits and crevices of your teeth
- Increase the risk of severe gum disease
- Creates chronic mouth dryness which is associated with bad breath, mouth sores and tooth decay
- Inflamed gums
- Tooth loss
- Lung damage
- weakens the immune system and delays brain development!!
Now all of those point don’t sounds like something anyone should want to go through, so if you do vape, think about the benefits…oh wait! there are NONE.
Its never too late to quit!
Now if that was not enough to scare you into stopping vaping and start caring for your oral and overall health then here are a few alternatives to try:
- Limit your nicotine intake, try nicotine-free vapes or a low dosage of nicotine
- Make sure you are having enough water throughout your day, this will help maintain a hydrated mouth which can help minimize the risk of infection
- Make sure you are brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes at a time. Brushing helps remove plaque which helps prevent cavities and promotes overall gum health
- Visit your dentist! Make sure you are having a regular check-up every 6 months for a clean and a consultation. Maintaining a healthy mouth means you are less likely to face any oral health problems in the future
Looking after your teeth and overall health is so important, if you are wanting to quit vaping/smoking, visit your local GP and they will be able to guide you with all the correct information you need to start your vape-free future!
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