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What effects does vaping have on your oral hygiene?

We all know that cigarettes are terrible for you oral hygiene, but what about the electronic kind? Vaping or e-cigarettes have gained quite a bit of popularity in the last decade. And why wouldn’t they? A vaper is a great alternative to regular cigarettes and exploratory studies have shown that it’s a good tool to quit smoking altogether.

Unfortunately, no one is quite sure about the side-effects of vaping; the FDA has stated that even if introductory research looks promising, it simply isn’t enough to understand the risks or possible side effects of the product. As far as dental hygiene goes, we are in that same grey area right now; surveys suggest that patients who change their smoking habits to vaping usually report reduced halitosis, less stains and feel better about their oral hygiene. But, keep in mind that e-cigarettes have nicotine, and the effects of nicotine in the mouth area are well documented.

Oral Hygiene and nicotine

Several studies coincide that nicotine is a risk factor that could develop into gingivitis or periodontitis, which produces bad breath, and if left untreated, may even loosen your teeth.

To make matters worse, nicotine (from cigarettes, vaping or nicotine gum) is a vasoconstrictor, that means that it impairs the natural blood flow to the mouth area. Without a regular blood flow, the gums don’t get their nutrients and as such, they die and recede, exposing the teeth and risking infections.

Nicotine hides your symptoms

To makes matters worse, one of the biggest indicators of gingivitis and periodontitis is swollen gums and bleeding. By stopping the blood flow, nicotine hides those symptoms away, and sick mouths may look healthy, even to the eyes of an expert. The risk here is that you could be developing and infection and not be aware of it until it’s too late.

Other side effects

Another side-effect of nicotine is that it inhibits your mouth’s ability to produce saliva. Without it, bacteria build’s up, the mouth dries and you may end up with bad breath (and in long-term scenarios, tooth decay).

Finally, nicotine causes the muscles to act up, tightening them. If you are a natural grinder, ingesting nicotine before going to sleep actually makes you grind harder, with all the side-effects that it entails.

So, what’s the verdict?  It’s still too soon to say, but between smoking a cigarette or vaping, the second is probably the better choice. And between those two, and not ingesting either, that third choice will always be the best solution for your health and your teeth.


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