As vaping and e-cigarettes rise in popularity as an alternative to traditional tobacco, many are wondering if vaping is better for your teeth than smoking. Here at Dr. Lori Lemire Family Dentistry, your Coos Bay family dentist of choice, we want to make sure you have all the facts about this growing trend, and how it can impact your gums and teeth.
Just As Bad As Tobacco Cigarettes
New research may show that vaping is just as damaging to oral health as smoking is. According to the journal Oncotarget, scientists have shown that substances in vapor are similarly harmful, and in select cases even more harmful, than conventional smoke from tobacco. Vaping can result in more dental health issues like loss of teeth, gum disease, and even mouth cancer.
How Vaping Works
Vape pens, or e-cigs, are electronic devices containing a heating element called an atomizer and a liquid nicotine cartridge. They work by heating up the liquid nicotine until it vaporizes, and then the user inhales the smokeless vapor. Although vaping does eliminate tobacco usage, the vapors contain propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, and other ingredients that can be harmful to your health in other ways.
Flavored Vapors May Be The Worse Offenders
At the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Professor Irfan Rahman and his team found that flavored vapors caused damage to gum tissue cells similar to the type of harm that come from tobacco smoke.
“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases,” reported Dr. Rahman in his study.
The study also noted that nicotine is already known to cause periodontitis or gum disease, and that the flavored vapors seemed to worsen the cell destruction caused by vaping in general. The researchers further found that the menthol-flavored vapor was the most harmful of all.
Another study from Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia of the Dental Medicine at Université Laval in Canada, which was published in Journal of Cellular Physiology, found that vapor damaged or killed 53 percent of mouth cells in just three days, providing further proof that vaping is not good for your mouth, teeth, and gums.
Nicotine Can Limit Blood Flow And Saliva
Nicotine has long been known to limit the amount of blood flow in your mouth and gum tissues. E-cigs and vape pens still contain plenty of nicotine in the vapor, so limited blood flow can still be a dangerous problem for vape lovers. If you already suffer from periodontitis, this limited blood flow can make it harder for your dentist to detect the gum disease, as one of the most recognizable factors that they look for is bleeding gums.
Nicotine inhalation can also reduce your mouth’s capacity to produce saliva. Salvia production in your mouth is very important to reduce acids and bacteria. Lack of saliva can lead to a drier mouth with more bacteria and even tooth decay.
If you have any questions about vaping or e-cigarettes and your oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment with Dr. Lemire today.