September 12, 2019
If you’ve been following the news recently, you may have heard about the latest controversy surrounding vaping – that they are just as harmful, if not more dangerous, than traditional cigarettes. Despite this news, it’s still a popular trend. Is it really safer than smoking regular cigarettes? How does vaping affect your teeth? A dentist in Sunnyvale is here with the answers.
How Does Vaping Affect Your Oral Health?
The short answer? E-cigs are not great for your pearly whites. Longer answer? Think of how vaping works. A liquid, usually nicotine, is heated up and then inhaled. Anytime you breathe in heat, it dries up your mouth. Dry mouth, a condition where you don’t have enough saliva, can be seriously detrimental to your oral health. Saliva washes away excess food particles and bacteria. Without it, you’re more vulnerable to problems like gum disease and tooth decay.
Vaping also messes with the balance of good versus bad bacteria in your mouth. The warmer your mouth is, the more it attracts harmful bacteria that fight off the beneficial bacteria. When this happens, it can cause inflammation, which may result in gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
Is Vaping Healthier Than Regular Cigarettes?
It’s very likely that the answer here is no. No one knows the long-term effects of vaping since it’s a relatively new technology. However, because vaping and smoking both involve a heating element, they both dry out the mouth.
In addition, nicotine causes tooth discoloration. This is true whether it’s vaped or smoked. The drier your mouth, the higher the risk of tooth decay. Nicotine also sticks to the enamel, or the outer layer of the teeth. Colored elements in e-cigarette vapor, as well as harmful plaque, will then stick to the outside of the teeth, causing not only stains, but cavities as well.
In one way, vaping may cause more decay than regular cigarettes. This is through the numerous flavors available in e-cigs, many of them modeled after sugary fruits. To make vaping taste sweet, they contain propylene glycol, which may cause cavities. Some studies have also linked it to higher blood sugar.
Vaping is still pretty new, and more research needs to be done on all of the effects it has on your oral health. Most dental professionals will agree that it can’t be good for your teeth and gums. All in all, it’s best to stay away from e-cigarettes for good.
About the Author
Dr. George Philip is a true Texas dentist, having been born and raised in Mesquite. After obtaining his Doctor of Dental Medicine from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, he returned to his home state and opened up his own practice in Sunnyvale the next year. If you have been smoking or vaping lately and need help kicking the habit, ask Dr. Philip for resources to help you quit. Contact him by calling (972) 285-6144.
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