There is good news. Americans are smoking fewer cigarettes than ever. And maybe soon, cigarettes will be completely on the way out. But the downside is that vaping devices, also known as electronic cigarettes, have exploded in popularity in recent years.
Leading the way in vape world is Juul, which accounts for three-quarters of the U.S. market. From 2017 to 2018, Juul sales increased by nearly 800 percent.
While these devices might seem at first to be healthier than smoking, they carry many of the same risks as cigarettes and even a few other risks.
Since last month, federal officials have reported more than 400 cases of serious lung illness that may be tied to vaping.
If you ask your family doctor, they will likely tell you that vaping is an addictive habit that’s bad for your body. But if you ask your family dentist, they may have a few thoughts on why it’s bad for your teeth.
Here are a few of the risks that electric cigarettes can present for your teeth.
Gingivitis causes inflammation of the gums and can progress to a more serious condition if left untreated.
One of its most common symptoms is bad breath. Many dentists believe that vaping (or smoking) can contribute to the development of gingivitis.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a more advanced stage of gingivitis. It is characterized by problems with the tissue surrounding the teeth.
Components found in vaporized nicotine form a bacterial breeding ground along the gums. The breakdown of some of these products softens the tooth enamel and degrades it. Those same components also adhere to the saliva in the mouth and create a place for the bacteria to actually settle in the little crevices in the teeth and in between the teeth. It increases the bacterial component in the mouth, giving way to gum disease.
When gingivitis and periodontal disease go unchecked, teeth fall out. In fact, periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss.
Tooth Decay and Oral Thrush
Both conditions are both caused by dryness in the mouth. Vaping is a major risk factor here, due to the way the vapor affects conditions in the mouth.
Most don’t really know exactly what all the ingredients are in the liquid that’s used to vaporize the nicotine. One of the ingredients that’s known though is propylene glycol, which is something similar to what’s used in antifreeze. And once you vaporize, the breakdown includes some pretty significantly harmful products.
Propylene glycol restricts moisture by binding to moistness inside the mouth. This leads to a dry mouth and a dry throat, which both contribute to tooth decay and oral thrush.
These chemicals also have a way of softening the enamel in the teeth, which also contributes to adverse effects. That softening of the enamel leads to a possibility of increased development of dental cavities, or tooth decay.
There’s a perception that while vaping may not be healthy, but that it’s healthier than smoking. But no company has been able to show any scientific data that e-cigarettes are safe or a healthier alternative to smoking. Preliminary studies are showing that e-cigarettes do indeed pose huge health risks and contain carcinogens that can cause DNA changes that lead to cancer.
One study, released last year by the American Chemical Society, concluded that vaping chemicals may damage DNA, and increase the risk of developing cancer.
We are learning more and more about these vaping devices. Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg who cares for his patients unlike any other dentist in South Florida, primarily the Plantation area says it is best to come in if you vape and have a proper dentist take care of you. Whether you are getting extensive work done like a root canal, Invisalign, crowns, or full dentures, or lighter work such as whitening, fillings, or preventative oral care, this is your dentist’s office.
Dr. Rosenberg is a Miami, Florida native who received his undergrad degree from Emory University and got his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Georgetown University Dental School. He has been in private practice for over 20 years. Dr. Rosenberg is President-Elect of the Broward County Dental Association. He is Vice President of the Broward Dental Research Clinic where has been on the board of directors for five years. He is a member of the Intracoastal Study Club. Professional memberships include the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association, and the Broward County Dental Association.