For years, companies and individuals have been campaigning against the use of cigarettes. The harms of tobacco products have been engrained into our heads, even our own offspring. Regardless, there are still many cigarette users around the world who want to quit their habit. So, as a “healthier” alternative, e-cigarettes came about in the mid-2000s. By 2010, the use of e-cigarettes, or the act of vaping, become widely popular, particularly among those under the age of 30. (Yes, maybe even your own kids!) Perhaps you use a vape pen yourself, but maybe you’re still curious about its effects. Everyone knows cigarettes are bad for the teeth (e.g., stains the enamel), but how does vaping affect teeth, if at all? It might surprise you to learn about its sneaky effects on our pearly whites.
It’s important for you to understand if you are currently or are considering vaping. You should be in tune with your body and know what you’re doing to it and putting into it. Your body, your decision.
So, How Does Vaping Affect Teeth?
You have a common question that’s on many people’s mind: “How does vaping affect teeth?”
Vaping is bad for the teeth in more ways than you might realize. For one, one of the main ingredients in vape oil/juice is propylene gel, which can irritate the soft tissues inside our mouths. Not to mention, this same exact ingredient can decrease our production of saliva. As a result of reduced saliva levels, this can cause chronic dry mouth and an increased risk of both cavities and gum disease.
But it gets worse. On top of all this, the flavorings found in vape oil can soften the enamel of the teeth. This effect alone can also increase a vaper’s risk of tooth decay. Both the flavorings and glycerin within vape oils can additionally increase the risk of cavities by softening the enamel of one’s teeth, especially if they already suffer from soft enamel.
And while there are non-nicotine versions of vape oils, a majority choose to vape for the very reason that it’s a so-called safer way to get one’s nicotine than smoking cigarettes or cigars. So, many if not most users are going to opt to buy nicotine-containing vape oils. Sadly, nicotine is another problem with vaping as it can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Part of this is due to the fact that it restricts blood flow to the gums. Likewise, nicotine can increase the risk of oral cancer.
There’s also the risk of the lithium battery of your vape pen overheating and exploding. As a result, this can risk damage to the teeth and oral area in general, especially if one is using or about to use the pen prior to the explosion.
Vaping Isn’t as Safe as We Might Think
All in all, the additives and chemicals in vape oils are horrible for our oral health in terms of saliva production, the strength of the enamel, and how much bacteria our mouths possess. These issues can eventually lead to serious, sometimes irreversible, painful, and expensive oral health conditions. These conditions range from severe tooth decay, to receding gums, to full-blown tooth loss. Plus, the fact that your vape pen’s battery might explode in your face one day can lead to some more oral health-related trouble.
Ask yourself if you’re okay with the consequences before even trying something like this. If these consequences scare you or if you lack the resources to help yourself when dealing with an oral health issue like one of the latter, it might be best to say no to e-cigarettes.
Is Vaping Better Than Smoking Cigarettes for the Teeth?
Those who vape are clearly aware that it isn’t a completely safe alternative to smoking cigarettes or cigars. You also now know the answer to the question, “How does vaping affect teeth?” Now the question is, is vaping safer for the teeth than smoking cigarettes or cigars?
Luckily for vapers, smoking is actually more harmful to the teeth. While they still hold similar effects as vape pens, cigarettes and cigars have a concern that vapers don’t have to worry about. That would be tar from smoking staining your pearly whites. Everyone knows how disappointing it can be to have stained teeth and how hard it can be to resolve the issue. In fact, yellow teeth is one of the big reasons smokers regret smoking from the start as it can be a long-term issue even after quitting smoking.
While it appears that smoking is worse for the teeth than vaping, both are not great for the teeth, our gums, and overall oral standing. Not to mention, cigarettes and cigars have been around for a lot longer than e-cigarettes. That said, research might conclude something different in the future regarding vaping versus smoking for the teeth. For now, vapers have a slight advantage oral health-wise, although is still quite risky.
Oral Health Tips for Vapers
It’s clear that the use of e-cigarettes is not ideal for the state of our teeth and oral health in general. There are many short- and long-term effects that it can lead to. However, as an adult, you have the right to decide if you will continue with or start vaping (or even trade cigarettes or cigars for vaping). Are you okay with the risks? Are you ready to handle the consequences head-on if and when they occur?
At the very least, vapers should be aware of how to provide the extra boost their teeth need to stay healthier and more attractive over the years. It won’t help you completely avoid all the poor oral health effects of vaping, but it can help to an extent. Better something than nothing!
Playing it Safe
Like any non-e-cigarette user, vapers should stick to a strict oral health regime. This should involve brushing the teeth twice a day for two minutes each session with fluoride toothpaste. Also, floss once or twice a day for optimal results. The use of mouthwash, while not required, can also be helpful for both the teeth and gums. Of course, you can’t go wrong with visiting your dentist regularly. In the case of poor oral health, your dentist might recommend more frequent visits.
Diet also plays a big role. Try to avoid excessive alcohol, sweets, and sticky snacks. Aim for mostly fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet. The nutrients you feed your body matter as your body uses them to not only function but also boost the health and structure of your teeth, gums, and the like. Don’t cheat your oral cavity the vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive. Plus, healthy eating leads to a healthier digestive tract, which in turn can lead to better overall health including your pearly whites.
In addition, it’s a good idea for vapers to limit their habit or at least switch to a vape oil with a lower (or non-existent) nicotine level. While even vape oils with little to no nicotine are still bad for the teeth, omitting or limiting the nicotine component of these can be less dangerous.
To Vape or Not to Vape? The Choice is All Yours
Overall, it’s up to you to decide if vaping is for you. However, as with anything else, always be aware of the consequences, and be equipped with what you need to resolve any issues you might encounter along the way. Or if your kid is the vaper, make sure they’re aware of the risks on their oral health and beyond. Safety is number one, always!