Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth and Gums?

Posted by Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA
Dr. Gallardo Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth and Gums
When a person smokes, they inhale smoke from a burning cigarette into their lungs, then exhale the smoke.

As more and more people become aware of the negative effects that smoking and using tobacco products can have on their health, including their dental health, many are looking for ways to cut back or quit. Some people try smoking cessation counseling, while others use nicotine patches or gum to help wean themselves off of tobacco products.

More recently, the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has gained popularity. Some people look at vaping as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.

But are e-cigarettes really safer? Before you start using these products, it’s important to understand exactly what vaping is and what effect, if any, it can have on your teeth or gums.

What is Vaping?

When a person smokes, they inhale smoke from a burning cigarette into their lungs, then exhale the smoke. The smoke contains thousands of chemical compounds, including nicotine, an addictive substance.

Vaping is similar. Except, when someone “vapes,” they inhale water vapor from an electronic cigarette into their lungs. The water vapor also contains thousands of chemical compounds, including nicotine. Many vaping products are flavored to make them taste like tobacco, mint, vanilla and a range of other flavors.

Vaping is often presented as being safer than smoking cigarettes. In some ways, that’s true, as the water vapor often contains fewer toxins than tobacco smoke and exposes people to fewer hazardous chemicals.

However, reduced chemical exposure doesn’t mean that there is no chemical exposure. When a person vapes, they are still inhaling plenty of mystery chemicals, as well as a few well-known dangerous ingredients, such as nicotine. Nicotine is known for being very addictive and for interfering with blood flow and the body’s ability to heal. Nicotine also raises blood pressure and can put a person at an increased risk of having a heart attack.

Why Do People Vape?

People vape for a variety of reasons. Some pick it up as a way to cut back on smoking or other tobacco use. Others, particularly young people, pick it up as a “cool” alternative to smoking. In some cases, the flavors available make vaping seem like a better option compared to the unpleasant taste of cigarette smoke.

Although e-cigarettes and vaping devices are sometimes marketed as tools to help people quit smoking or cut back on tobacco, the reality is that they are just as addictive as traditional cigarettes.

What Does Vaping Do to the Teeth and Gums?

Traditional tobacco products are known for causing significant damage to the teeth and gums. They not only increase a person’s chance of developing gum disease and cavities, but they also stain the teeth and lead to bad breath.

Is vaping any better for the teeth? Not really, as it turns out. While research is ongoing into the effects of vaping on people’s gums and teeth, some preliminary studies have found that using e-cigarettes can increase a person’s risk for inflammation of the gums, which can lead to gum disease over time.

Vaping can also contribute to dry mouth, which can create an environment in the mouth that’s more hospitable to bacteria. You need saliva to rinse bacteria and food particles off of the surface of the teeth. When saliva production decreases, bacteria can grow and thrive, increasing your risk of infection in the mouth.

Nicotine, the same ingredient in tobacco products that causes so much trouble in the mouth, is also found in vaping products. Nicotine disrupts blood flow and can prevent oxygen from reaching the gums. When they aren’t getting an adequate amount of oxygen, the gums aren’t functioning at their best. That means they are more likely to recede over time.

The Impact of Nicotine

Nicotine, a common ingredient in vape juice, reduces blood flow to the gums, which can lead to gum disease. A study by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found that nicotine users have higher rates of gum inflammation and periodontal disease compared to non-users.

Propylene Glycol and Tooth Damage

Propylene glycol, another ingredient in e-liquids, can break down into acids that erode tooth enamel. Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicates that prolonged exposure to propylene glycol vapor can significantly reduce the hardness of tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities.

The Role of Flavorings

Many e-liquids contain flavorings that can be harmful to your teeth. For instance, menthol and cinnamon flavors are known to cause soft tissue irritation and increase the risk of gum disease. A study in the journal Tobacco Regulatory Science highlights that certain flavoring compounds can exacerbate cell death in gum tissues, leading to faster progression of periodontal diseases.

Dehydration and Dry Mouth

Vaping can cause dry mouth (xerostomia), which reduces saliva production. Saliva is essential for maintaining oral health as it helps neutralize acids and wash away food particles. Reduced saliva flow can lead to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. According to a report by the American Dental Association, individuals who vape are more likely to experience dry mouth and its associated complications.

Why Choose Dr. John Paul Gallardo for Your Dental Health Needs?

Dr. Gallardo’s journey in dentistry began at the University of Miami, followed by an advanced early acceptance to New York University College of Dentistry, where he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1991. He was honored with the “Outstanding Resident of the Year” Award during his residency at the V.A. Medical Center General Practice Residency Program. He then pursued advanced graduate studies in Periodontics and Dental Implants at Boston University, earning a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.).

With an unwavering dedication to periodontics, Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA, stands as South Florida’s leading periodontist and implant specialist. Boasting over 25 years of experience, Dr. Gallardo has garnered recognition for his meticulous attention to detail and techniques that yield life-long results.

At Gallardo Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we utilize cutting-edge technologies that are both safe and effective in treating gum disease and placing dental implants. Dr. Gallardo’s expertise ensures optimal results with minimal downtime, supported by our state-of-the-art facility.

What You Can Do About Vaping or Tobacco Use

If you currently smoke and are looking to cut back or quit, then congratulations. Doing so will not only improve the health of your teeth and gums but your overall health.

That said, trading smoking for vaping isn’t exactly the best idea, as vaping can be just as tricky to quit as smoking in the long run. Your best bet is to speak with your dentist or doctor about your options for quitting smoking or giving up vaping if you currently use e-cigarettes. Quitting nicotine-based products can be difficult, but in the long run, it’s the best thing to do for your overall health.

Your dentist can help you better understand the effects of vaping on your teeth and gums and can help you work on quitting. Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area offering patients custom oral health plans. He can recommend options that work for you and your needs. To schedule an appointment in Miami, FL, call 305-447-1447 today.

Preventive Measures to Protect Your Oral Health from Vaping

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential to combat dry mouth caused by vaping. Keeping your mouth hydrated helps maintain saliva production, which is crucial for neutralizing acids and washing away food particles that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Maintain Oral Hygiene

  • Brush and Floss Regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth.
  • Use Mouthwash: An antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce plaque and prevent gum disease.

Regular Dental Visits

  • Routine Checkups: Schedule regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and examinations. This allows for early detection and treatment of any oral health issues caused by vaping.
  • Professional Cleanings: Regular professional cleanings help remove tartar buildup and maintain healthy gums.

Diet and Nutrition

  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to support oral health. Foods high in calcium and vitamins are beneficial for maintaining strong teeth and gums.
  • Limit Sugary and Acidic Foods: Reduce the intake of sugary and acidic foods and beverages, which can erode tooth enamel and contribute to cavities.

Avoiding Harmful Habits

  • Quit Smoking and Vaping: Consider quitting smoking and vaping to improve your overall oral health. There are numerous resources and support systems available to help with cessation.
  • Use a Humidifier: Using a humidifier, especially while sleeping, can help alleviate dry mouth by adding moisture to the air you breathe.

Oral Health Products

  • Chewing Sugar-Free Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, which can help neutralize acids and reduce dry mouth.
  • Fluoride Treatments: Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments to help strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent decay.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. John Paul Gallardo

Contact Gallardo Periodontics and Implant Dentistry through our website or call our office directly. Our friendly staff will assist you in setting up an appointment that fits your schedule. Address your doubts and issues with an expert periodontist in Miami, FL.