The dangers of smoking cigarettes are well known. Vaping, however, is a recent trend that is commonly believed to be a “healthier” way to get nicotine. While e-cigarettes do eliminate some of the health risks associated with traditional cigarettes, these smokeless devices are not a harmless alternative. In fact, like cigarette smoking, vaping poses serious risks to your oral health.
The scarier truth is that the vaping population is largely composed of teenagers. A recent survey reports that as many as 37% of high school seniors and more than 17% of eighth-graders vaped in the previous year! When it comes to oral health, parents should be very alarmed at this statistic.
Here are three ways that vaping is detrimental to the oral health of adults as well as teens:
- Nicotine can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that e-cigarettes don’t contain nicotine just because they don’t produce smoke. Although the vape juice includes lower amounts of nicotine compared to cigarettes, the nicotine it does have can still do damage to the gums. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it limits healthy amounts of blood flow to the gums. This reduces the body’s ability to fight infection and restore connective tissue, which raises the risk for gum disease and tooth loss.
- Propylene glycol is toxic to enamel and soft tissue.
Propylene glycol (PG) is a primary ingredient in vape juice. It’s safe consume or inhale, but it can do some damage along the way. When used orally, PG breaks down into acids that erode tooth enamel and contributes to dry mouth. Poor saliva production can contribute to gum disease, decay and bad breath.
- Vegetable glycerin and flavorings help bacteria stick to (already soft) teeth.
Vegetable glycerin (VG) is a slightly sticky liquid sweetener that is used in many e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, this substance allows bad bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) to better stick to the surfaces of your teeth. When combined with flavorings, there can be four times the amount of microbes that stick to the teeth and create biofilm. Flavorings can also reduce the hardness of your enamel by over 25%.
Need Help Convincing Your Teen Not to Vape?
At Smile Design Studios, we welcome the opportunity to share the dangers of smoking and vaping to our patients. If you are a parent of a teen who vapes, it is important to help them understand the serious and even irreversible consequences towards their smile. Call our Missouri City office today.