Vaping Your Oral Health Away?

Don't Believe The Big Lie That It's Safe

I’m not surprised the FDA is cracking down on the vaping industry. For some time there have been disturbing warnings about the potentially negative affects on the heart and lungs from the inhalation of e-cigarette vapors.

While not as widely reported, did you know inhaling vapors from these products can cause tooth decay and be detrimental to your overall oral health?

Having treated many patients who suffer from the onset of oral cancers as a result of cigarette smoking and tobacco chewing I am concerned about the potential dangers from vaping. There is now groundbreaking new research with evidence to support there are negative consequences to a person’s oral health as a result of puffing on vapes.

Don’t be fooled: Vaping and a healthy smile are not equal partners. I’m noticing more cavities in my patients who vape, which is due to the bacteria resulting from the acidity in vape liquid. After all, the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body.

Whatever your puff of choice, nicotine limits blood flow to the gums, which is a breeding ground for periodontal disease. Vape fluids are often created from a myriad of toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and propylene glycol.

Repeatedly traumatizing the oral cavity by introducing many of the popular vaping chemicals into the mouth can be irreversible. Another issue that can occur include periodontitis, which is the loss of bone which holds teeth to the jaw. A recent study in Science Advances, determined the healthy oral microbiome that lives in the mouth of e-cigarette users without gum disease resembled the microbiome of people with periodontitis.

It’s estimated that one in five high school students — and more than 6% of American adults overall are vaping. I’m seeing an alarming uptick in bacteria-causing cavities, and periodontal disease in younger adults and minors in my practice, as well as dry mouth, oral ulcers. When I ask if they vape? The answer is “yes.”

It’s important that we as health care professionals alert our patients to the potentially negative consequences from puffing on e-cigarettes, which is thought by so many, especially young people, to be harmless. Vaping steam, no matter the decreased levels claimed by the vaping industry---- is no safer than inhaling cigarette smoke! Being hooked on any form of nicotine is a serious threat to one’s overall health!

As with cigarette smoking or tobacco chewing, you may try and fail to quit vaping after several attempts. Nicotine craving and withdrawal is real and it’s difficult, so here are some online supportive tools to help you succeed: SmokeFree.gov’s special section titled “Quit Vaping,” and you can also download this quitSTART app.

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