The popularity of e-cigarettes has increased dramatically over the last few years, primarily due to the myth that vaping is “healthier” than smoking cigarettes. While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they still contain nicotine and can negatively impact your overall health. Most recent news stories have focused on vaping-related lung disease—with some cases proving fatal—but the ill effects of vaping on oral health have not been publicized as much. If you indulge in vaping, here’s what you should know about its effects on your mouth, gums, and teeth.
Vaping and dental health
E-cigarettes use an aerosol, or vapor, as a delivery system for nicotine, but that does not mean it’s healthier to inhale than tobacco smoke. Nicotine has the same negative impact on your oral health regardless of how it’s consumed, with potential complications including:
How do e-cigarettes affect your teeth?
Consuming nicotine reduces saliva production in your mouth, and without enough moisture, bacteria-packed plaque and tartar can build up on the teeth and lead to cavities and, eventually, tooth decay. Because nicotine is a stimulant, consuming it can cause your jaw muscles to clench and grind your teeth. Frequent grinding and clenching can damage your teeth and surrounding mouth tissues, leading to more serious oral health problems.
How do e-cigarettes affect your gums?
Nicotine reduces blood flow to your teeth and gums, depriving them of oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. As a result, the gum tissue can die and recede, increasing the risk of developing cavities. Vaping and teeth sensitivity is also a concern, as receding gums can expose areas of the teeth where the protective enamel is not as thick. However, the most significant effect of vaping on gums is the increased risk of gum disease.
Vaping and gum disease
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered, “What causes bleeding gums when vaping?” It’s the swelling and inflammation of gum disease that’s making your gums bleed. Using e-cigarettes causes gum inflammation and swelling as much as regular cigarettes because nicotine is the culprit. And when gums are swollen, they are more susceptible to increased bacteria levels in the mouth, especially when combined with a lack of saliva. High levels of bacteria often lead to gum disease. And in answer to the question, “Does vaping cause bad breath?” the answer is yes.
There’s no getting around it—vaping is detrimental to your oral health in general and your gums in particular. If you are a regular user of e-cigarettes and you notice any of the following symptoms, you most likely have gum disease:
- Red, irritated, tender, or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t respond to mouthwash or breath fresheners
Cosmetic effects of vaping
The potential for gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, and other medical conditions are enough reason to give up vaping, but there are also negative cosmetic effects to consider. Vaping teeth stains from nicotine are quite common, and of course tooth loss from untreated gum disease or damage from bruxism will have a noticeable impact on your smile.
Gum disease treatment in San Diego
If you notice that vaping is making your gums bleed, it’s best to seek treatment immediately to prevent further oral health complications. The specialists at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry will explain your diagnosis and treatment plan in full, and help restore the health of your bright, healthy smile. If you need help giving up nicotine, we can offer recommendations.
Give us a call at (619) 543-0905 for more information or to schedule an appointment.