With the rise of e-cigarettes and vaping, many people may be under the impression that they are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. While this may be true in some cases, it is important to understand the potential risks that vaping can have on your oral health. Town and Country Cosmetic Dentistry and Implant Center in Chesterfield MO is here to explain why vaping and oral health don’t mix. This post is directly inspired by work from our good friends and colleagues here.
The Dangers of Nicotine for Oral Health
Vaping often involves nicotine, which can cause a variety of issues related to oral health. One of the most significant is gum disease, which is caused by inflammation of the gums due to nicotine exposure. Long-term use of nicotine has been linked to an increased risk for periodontal disease, which can cause tooth loss if left untreated. Additionally, nicotine has been shown to reduce blood flow to the gums, which can lead to an increased risk for infection and a decrease in oxygen supply needed for healthy tissue.
Nicotine also affects saliva production and can lead to dry mouth, or xerostomia. Dry mouth is more than just uncomfortable; it increases plaque buildup on teeth, leading to cavities, tooth decay, and ultimately tooth loss if not treated properly. Saliva helps keep bacteria from growing around the mouth and helps wash away food particles that can cause bad breath or other issues with oral hygiene. Without sufficient saliva production caused by vaping with nicotine-based e-liquids, users are at an increased risk for all kinds of dental issues over time.
The Potential Impact on Teeth from E-Cigarette Use
E-cigarettes usually contain flavored liquid that vaporizes when heated up in order for users to inhale it into their lungs. This liquid contains a number of chemicals including propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin as its base along with added flavorings such as cinnamon or minty flavors that contain high levels of acids like citric acid or malic acid. When these chemicals come into contact with teeth over long periods of time they can begin causing erosion of enamel as well as discoloration leading to yellowing teeth or stained teeth in extreme cases.
The Danger of Lithium Battery Explosion
Though explosion of e-cigarette batteries are fairly rare, the possibly certainly exists. One report has found that between 2009 and 2016, 195 such explosion occurred, often with catastrophic consequences for the soft tissues of the mouth and face. Dennis Thombs, dean of the School of Public Health at UNT Health Science Center, conducted research that indicates that the number of explosion is likely underestimated by the US government. Thombs estimated that there were 2,035 e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries in the US between 2015 and 2017—more than 40 times the initial estimate by the US government.
At Town & Country Cosmetic Dentistry & Implant Center in Chesterfield MO we want our current and potential clients alike to understand the potential risks associated with e-cigarette use when it comes to oral health care needs. Proper preventative care such as brushing twice daily with fluoride containing toothpaste along with regular professional cleanings will help minimize any damage done through vaping but understanding these risks are still important before starting any new habits involving e-cigarettes and other forms of smoking products or tobacco products that could potentially harm one’s oral health over time without proper preventative care being taken beforehand! We serve patients from Chesterfield, Town and Country, St. Louis, Ballwin, and Manchester. Contact us today.
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