Is Vaping Bad for My Teeth & Oral Health?
The medical, dental, and scientific communities overwhelmingly agree that the smoking and use of tobacco products is detrimental to oral health and general wellness—but what about vaping? At Coronado Classic Dentistry, our dentist—Jason Keckley, DMD—is frequently asked whether vaping is harmful to the teeth and gums. While vaping is widely viewed by many as a ‘safer alternative’ to smoking and chewing tobacco, individuals who vape using e-cigarettes and nicotine-infused e-liquids should be cognizant of the unique oral health risks of vaping.
It is true that tobacco smoke contains more carcinogens and unsafe chemicals than vape aerosols; however, e-cigarette aerosols include several ingredients proven to be harmful to oral health. The problematic compounds involved in vaping include propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, artificial flavorings, and nicotine. An article published by Perio-Implant Advisory, a clinically and academically-based periodical that focuses on topics related to periodontal and implant medicine, outlines several discoveries related to the negative impacts of vaping and e-liquids on oral health:
- Propylene glycol breaks down into several substances (acetic acid, lactic acid, and propionaldehyde) which are toxic to both dental enamel and soft tissues.
- When aerosolized propylene glycol binds to water molecules in the mouth (either within the saliva or tissues), it can cause oral tissues to lose vital hydration and become dried out. This condition, commonly referred to as dry mouth, can lead to gum disease, cavities, bad breath, and other oral health complications.
- Vegetable glycerine, which is used as a sweetener and combined with various artificial flavorings, has shown to both erode tooth enamel and increase the adhesion of cavity-causing bacteria to the teeth.
- Nicotine is present in varying levels in different e-liquids; however, the presence of any nicotine in the mouth can decrease gingival blood flow, affect cellular function in the gum tissue, and suppress connective tissue turnover—all of which can lead to an increased risk of developing gum disease and tooth loss.
Dr. Keckley understands how difficult it can be to stop smoking and why many patients turn to vaping as an alternative. In light of the negative oral health effects of vaping, Dr. Keckley may mention other avenues for smoking cessation, such as nicotine patches, which generally have fewer detrimental effects on the teeth and gums. In all cases, patients are ultimately encouraged to ask their general practitioners about the smoking cessation options that are best suited for their needs and health status.