Nowadays, vaping is considered trendy, especially among teenagers. While vaping is thought of as the inhalation of harmless “vapours,” that’s certainly not true, and many still don’t know the answer to “Is vaping bad for your teeth?”
Many people have started vaping in a bid to quit smoking. However, vapes contain nicotine, which is not only addictive but also harmful to your oral health. In addition, vapes contain other chemical compounds that pose even greater health risks. While vaping may not be as harmful as smoking a cigarette, it’s still not good for you.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping or e-cigarette is the inhalation of vapours into the lungs of a liquid after it’s heated in a small refillable device through batteries. Instead of inhaling smoke, as happens in smoking, vapours are inhaled, which has given this practice the name “vaping.”
According to the NHS, thousands in the UK have been able to quit smoking through the use of e-cigarettes. Therefore, it is effective. It also reports studies that show that together with face-to-face support, people using e-cigarettes were twice as likely to quit smoking compared to those who were using nicotine patches or gums.
However, the problem is that these vapes typically contain nicotine. And nicotine addiction can make it harder to quit vaping. Other than containing nicotine, vapes also contain:
- Propylene Glycol
According to Better Health Channel, even when the vape is “nicotine-free,” its juice can contain nicotine, heavy metals, carcinogens, and volatile organic compounds. All of these can be harmful to your oral and overall health.
The American Dental Association has urged a ban on e-cigarettes while encouraging people to use methods approved by the FDA to quit smoking. The FDA has also banned fruit and mint-flavoured vapes to discourage their use in teenagers, which has been on the rise.
Why Is Vaping Bad For Your Teeth?
There are several answers to the question, “Is vaping bad for your teeth.” Some of them are as follows:
Increased Risk of Gum Disease
According to a study published in iScience, e-cigarettes can increase the risk of oral infection and promote gum inflammation. 43.6% of the people who used e-cigarettes had gum disease compared to 28.2% of non-smokers.
Those vapes that contain flavoured and sweetened juices can further exacerbate the problem by creating an environment that allows oral bacteria to thrive. One research published in Science Advances even showed that the oral microbiome of people who vaped but didn’t have gum disease was similar to those who had severe gum infection.
Here, it should also be noted that nicotine can weaken the immune system, so your body will not be able to fight off the infection effectively. It can also affect the flow of blood to the gum tissue. Even if the vape is nicotine-free, the propylene glycol and glycerin can get converted into toxic substances which can harm your oral health.
The increased bacteria in the mouth from vaping can result in the build-up of plaque and erosion of the enamel, which can cause cavities. Also, because many people end up with a dry mouth following vaping, they end up drinking sweetened drinks, which can also lead to cavities.
Propylene glycol in vapes absorbs water, which leaves the mouth dry. Also, nicotine can reduce the production of saliva, which can leave your mouth dry. A dry mouth increases the risk of oral infection and cavities. It can also leave you with bad breath. You can also end up experiencing tooth decay. So, the answer to “Is vaping bad for your teeth?” is in the affirmative.
One study published in the BMC showed that the inhalation of 1 puff of vapours from a nicotine-free sheesha pen could cause irritation of the airways. It’s because of the presence of the compounds propylene glycol and glycerol. This also goes on to show that the answer to “Is vaping bad for your teeth?” is yes.
Discolouration of Teeth
Vaping can stain your teeth because it still contains nicotine, even if not as much as is present in a cigarette. The porous surface of the enamel can absorb the chemical compounds, which can leave the tooth discoloured.
Since nicotine in vapes is a stimulant, it can promote the habit of teeth grinding. If you gnash your teeth against each other, the enamel will erode, and you can also end up developing cavities. If the condition is chronic, you can also lose your teeth, for which you’d need dental restorations.
One study published in Oncotarget showed that vaping could damage the epithelial cells in the oral mucosa, which can cause oral cancer. Also, keep in mind that vapes contain cancer-causing chemicals. So, there may be a risk of cancer. Still, according to Cancer Research UK, there is “no good evidence” that vaping can cause cancer.
Loss of Taste
There’s such a thing known as “vape tongue,” where the person loses their ability to taste the flavour of the vape juice. It can happen if you’ve been vaping the same flavour for quite some time. This effect is, however, temporary.
There have been reports of people getting injured or even dying because of the explosion of the lithium batteries while they’re vaping. It happened because of the overheating of the batteries. Some people have also reported their vapes bursting into flames. Therefore, it’s not just about is vaping bad for your teeth; it can also be quite dangerous to use.
Are Some Vape Juices Worse Than Others?
Research published in the Frontiers in Physiology showed that cinnamon-flavoured vaping juice is among the most toxic ones. It is because of the chemicals that are used in its preparation. Other than that, clove, vanilla, menthol, strawberry, butter, and banana, burnt and spicy cooling flavourings added to vapes can cause heart problems.
Creamy flavoured e-cigarettes can cause respiratory illnesses. One study found that tadpoles exposed to creamy flavours developed clefts. Some people also vape CBD oil, usually for pain, depression and anxiety. That might also have some health risks, and more research on its risks and benefits is needed.
Also, keep in mind that propylene glycol and glycerin can break down into toxic compounds in the mouth, which can damage the enamel of the teeth. So, if you’re wondering, “Is vaping bad for your teeth?” The answer to that is yes, even though it’s not as harmful as a cigarette.
How To Minimise The Side Effects of Vaping?
Vaping is not good for your teeth. It’s less harmful than a cigarette, but it’s still not safe. However, if you’re wondering how to take better care of your teeth if you vape, you can consider doing the following:
- Drink Ample Water – Since vaping can give you a dry mouth, you should make sure to drink a lot of water (not sweetened, carbonated beverages). This will also help you with bad breath.
- Brush and Floss – Your mouth will have more bacteria if you vape, so it can more easily form plaque. That is why you should brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice a day and make sure to floss.
- Get Teeth Cleaned Regularly – In general, those who vape have poor oral health. That makes it even more important for you to get regular dental checkups and cleaning. You may have gum disease, for which you might need scale and polish, along with root planing. That can prevent the problem from worsening.
- Quit Vaping – The best way to take care of your teeth is to quit vaping altogether. While it’s better to use a nicotine-free or low-nicotine vape juice than a nicotine one, remember that it will still contain harmful chemicals.
How To Quit Vaping?
If you want to quit vaping, the following things can help:
- List The Reasons for Quitting – It’s better if you identify the various reasons why you want to quit vaping. It may be because of your health or that of your loved ones (protecting them from secondhand smoke). Also, it may be costing you a lot which is why you want to quit vaping. This list can act as a constant reminder for you so that you’re determined to achieve your goal.
- Identify Triggers – When you’re planning to quit vaping, it is important to learn your triggers. When do you vape? Stress, socialisation, or even boredom can make people reach out for their vape pen or pod. You’ll also experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which is why you need to make preparations for it in advance. For this, you can consider chewing gum, exercising or talking to someone.
- Find Support – You can consider involving your loved ones in your plan to quit smoking. It might make you more resolute. Additionally, they can help you stick to your goal of quitting vaping. Ask your friends not to vape around you if they do.
- Stay Positive – It is possible that this may not be your first attempt to quit vaping. It doesn’t mean it won’t work out again just because it didn’t work out the first time. If you do slip up, you shouldn’t lose hope. Instead, focus on achieving your goal again.
Is vaping bad for your teeth? Yes. It can increase the risk of oral infection, cavities, and tooth decay. It can also promote teeth grinding and may increase the risk of oral cancer. The device itself can also be dangerous because of the batteries. It’s best that you do not vape at all if you’re trying to quit smoking.