It’s well documented that vaping has negative effects on your overall health, but does vaping affect your dental health as well? Is vaping bad for your teeth? Vapes and electronic cigarettes have been introduced as alternatives to regular cigarettes in hopes of reducing smoking in the mid 2000s. These devices have also become popular among high school students and teenagers, often seen as a “cooler” and “safer” alternative to smoking cigarettes. The FDA offers statistics on young people and vaping: “Youth e-cigarette use has dramatically increased since 2011, and 3.6 million youth still currently use e-cigarettes” (2020).
However, the nicotine in vapes is just as bad for you as traditional cigarettes, putting you at risk for lung disease and more. Additionally, the batteries and e-liquids have the potential to introduce other health concerns as well.
When you vape, you put yourself at risk for gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, oral cancer, and other negative health effects.
How Does Vaping Affect Dental Health?
Vaping affects your dental health in many ways including accelerating tooth decay and increasing your risk for oral cancer. Many people choose to vape, seeing it as a safer alternative to smoking, but the use of vapes and e-cigarettes is far from safe.
A 2020 review of case reports examined the possible oral health consequences of vaping in comparison to traditional cigarettes. “Some vaping formulations may be highly cariogenic, especially those with sweet flavors, which are used to attract young people,” the authors found (Irusa et al 2020).
Similarly, another 2020 study titled “Associations of electronic and conventional cigarette use with periodontal disease in South Korean adults” found similar risks for periodontal disease between conventional smokers and e-cigarette vapers. The authors examined over 13,000 patients and made the following conclusion, “after adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related characteristics, both vaping and smoking each had significant association with periodontal diseases” (Jeong et al 2020). This increased risk of gum disease means you’re more likely to experience gum inflammation, bleeding gums, and tooth loss if you vape or use e-cigarettes.
Both studies also found higher instances of tooth decay and cavities in vapers and smokers. This is likely because vaping and using e-cigarettes can weaken tooth enamel, which can increase the risk of cavities.
In addition, vaping is known to cause dry mouth and bad breath. Some of the ingredients in e-cigarettes, such as propylene glycol can cause your mouth to become dry, which often leads to bad breath. Chronic dry mouth is another risk factor for tooth decay and cavities as well.
Because vapes and e-cigarettes are relatively new, scientists are still unaware of potential long-term effects on both young and old users. However, the negative effects of traditional tobacco products are well-documented in research. It’s likely that as time goes on and researchers have time to conduct well-designed studies, more evidence will emerge linking vapes and e-cigarettes to oral health problems.
Why is Vaping Bad for Oral Health?
Vaping is bad for oral health because the e-liquid in vapes is very toxic to teeth and the soft tissue of the gums. The flavorings in the e-liquid and ingredients such as vegetable glycerin are also bad for oral health as they cause teeth to soften. Of course, nicotine use itself has negative side effects as well, such as restricting blood flow to the gums. These products can cause the oral health problems discussed above: oral cancer, periodontal disease, tooth decay, dry mouth, and bad breath.
Additionally, e-cigarette aerosols cause more bacteria to build up in the mouth. This may lead to higher rates of inflammation and infection when compared to those who don’t use e-cigarettes (Pushalkar et al 2020).
Vaping and Teeth Grinding
Traditional cigarette smoking is a known cause of teeth grinding. This is because the nicotine in these products acts as a muscle stimulant, potentially leading to bruxism (tooth grinding). Bruxism happens when you (often subconsciously) grind your upper and lower teeth together.
Similarly, the nicotine in vapes and e-cigarettes can have the same effect. Teeth grinding can subsequently lead to a host of other painful side effects, including headaches, cracked teeth, and jaw pain on one side or even both sides. While more research should be conducted, current studies find a significant connection between tobacco use and bruxism.
How Do I Minimize the Effects of Vaping?
The best way to minimize the negative side effects of vaping and using e-cigarettes is to stop using these products if possible. If you do continue to vape, you can minimize some side effects by using nicotine-free vaping devices.
Regardless of whether you quit or continue to vape, be sure to have regular dental checkups to have your teeth and gums examined. Your dentist may be able to identify early signs of bruxism before the side effects progress. In addition, you should also follow proper oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing twice a day.
If one of your side effects of vaping is bruxism, use a mouth guard for grinding teeth to prevent further damage to your teeth. Bruxism mouth guards are typically worn at night to protect your teeth from the effects of clenching and grinding. Talk to your dentist to learn more about the best type of night guard for you.
Vaping and Oral Health
Vaping can negatively impact your oral health in addition to the more well known health risks to overall health. Possible side effects include gum disease, oral cancer, and tooth decay, mouth sores, receding gums, among others. Vaping is also a risk factor for bruxism, which may lead to headaches, worn enamel, and other health issues.
The best way to reduce the side effects caused by vaping and using e-cigarettes is to discontinue use. You should also schedule visits to see your dentist at least every six months and use a night guard if you vape and have bruxism. Pro Teeth Guard makes affordable night guards in a professional dental lab. Every night guard is guaranteed to fit comfortably with our 110% money-back guarantee.
- FDA Writing Staff. (2020). Vaporizers, e-cigarettes, and other ends. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/products-ingredients-components/vaporizers-e-cigarettes-and-other-electronic-nicotine-delivery-systems-ends
- Irusa, K. F., Vence, B., & Donovan, T. (2020). Potential oral health effects of e-cigarettes and vaping: A review and case reports. Journal of esthetic and restorative dentistry : official publication of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry ... [et al.], 32(3), 260–264. https://doi.org/10.1111/jerd.12583
- Jeong, W., Choi, D. W., Kim, Y. K., Lee, H. J., Lee, S. A., Park, E. C., & Jang, S. I. (2020). Associations of electronic and conventional cigarette use with periodontal disease in South Korean adults. Journal of periodontology, 91(1), 55–64. https://doi.org/10.1002/JPER.19-0060
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Periodontitis. Mayo Clinic. Retreived from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/periodontitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354473
- Pushalkar, S. (2020). Electronic Cigarette Aerosol Modulates the Oral Microbiome and Increases Risk of Infection. iScience. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext/S2589-0042(20)30068-7
- Vandergriendt, C. (2019). Is vaping bad for your teeth? Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/dental-and-oral-health-is-vaping-bad-for-your-teeth