We’ve spent many years explaining to our patients about the damaging effects of smoking on oral and general health. It’s well established that smoking is directly linked with gum disease and mouth cancer and there are increasing links with other issues like cardiovascular disease.
Vaping was hailed as the safe new way to give up smoking cigarettes but still get the nicotine hit that smokers are addicted to.
Now that e-cigarettes have been around for a while, we’re starting to better understand them and I’m afraid it isn’t necessarily good news.
On the plus side, with e-cigarettes it’s easier to control the amount of nicotine you get as you can choose the concentration in the solution (and less nicotine means less addiction). There are certainly fewer toxic and cancer-causing chemicals involved (as far as we’re aware) but there are still several concerns;
- The nicotine in e-cigs has the same effect on reducing the blood supply to the gums, meaning less protection from bacteria that cause gum problems. We’re still seeing significant gum problems in some patients that have moved across to vaping, so it seems the problems are similar.
- The additional products in the vaping liquid can cause irritation and dryness of the mouth. It’s well known that a dry mouth means a much higher risk of decay.
- There is evidence to suggest that e-liquids promote growth of the bacteria that cause decay and can also break down into products that can weaken enamel, further increasing the risk of decay.
In summary, it looks like vaping isn’t the obvious choice it was originally intended to be. It seems that whilst it is perhaps less dangerous for your general health than smoking there is still a high risk of gum problems and tooth decay.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the advice here is that vaping is still not a great option and unless you are able to fully kick that habit, your ongoing dental need is going to remain far higher than you would like.