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Vaping has become the latest trend, allowing many people to enjoy a rush of nicotine or other legal drugs without the tar and pervasive smell of smoking. However, many people who enjoy vaping do not realize that it also can have potent physical effects. Although the smoke coming from a vape pen appears whiter and cleaner than heavy, tarry cigarette smoke, it can have part a particularly profound impact on the health of your teeth and gums.
What are the cause and effect of vaping in our teeth? Can vaping really damage our teeth and gums permanently? Most importantly, if my teeth are being damaged by vaping is there any chance they can be fixed? Today we explore the answers to these and other questions about vaping and its effect on dental health.
Nicotine: Reducing Circulation
Many people who enjoy vaping do not understand that it produces much more than simple water vapor. People who use this are often using it to ingest an addictive substance. Nicotine is generally the most popular drug to find in a vaping solution.
A lot of the information on cigarettes focuses on how bad smoking is, leaving out the deleterious effects of nicotine. In fact, nicotine is very bad for your body, and most especially your teeth, regardless of the way that you are taking it in. What are the cause and effect of vaping in our teeth? It is a potent vasoconstrictor, squeezing blood vessels so they cannot deliver as much blood. The end result of this is that tissues in the mouth often end up damaged from loss of blood flow in people who vape regularly.
In addition, vaping releases chemicals into the mouth that increase inflammation. They activate the production of inflammatory proteins that stimulate an immune reaction. While this is often not even noticeable at first, it eventually leads to damage to tissues and an increased risk for both gum disease and for serious dental infections.
Many of the effects of vaping on teeth and gums cannot be seen for years. Unfortunately, this means that many people will continue to use this product and not discover the extent of their consequences until it is too late. However, thanks to modern dental and orthodontic care, there is always hope.
Gum Recession, Gum Infection, and More
One of the most important impacts of vaping on oral health are the immediately noticeable ones. Vaping makes people get dry mouth, which is very destructive to teeth. In addition, it increases inflammation in the mouth. With these two factors in place, many people will see increased cavities, receding gums, dangerous dental infections, and more.
This damage will occur to some extent for everyone who vapes. It is very difficult to reverse the serious dental damage. However, there are a few ways that it can be prevented or significantly reduced with the help of your local dentist and/or orthodontist.
Can Vaping Really Damage Our Teeth and Gums Permanently?
Can vaping damage gums and teeth permanently? Permanent damage is certainly possible, although more study is needed to determine what percentage are at risk. However, receding gums, additional caries, and other “minor” damage resulting from vaping absolutely can become permanent dental issues if left untreated. People even may lose their teeth!
Although vaping is often hailed as a healthier form of smoking, this is not yet known. We know that it is not safe, as once was claimed, and that the chemicals that carry the smoke mix and the nicotine can be very dangerous to both lungs and the delicate tissues of the mouth. Unfortunately, there is no safe way to take in nicotine. It is inherently bad for all human tissues that it touches.
Undoing the Damage
This information may lead many to wonder: “If my teeth are being damaged by vaping is there any chance they can be fixed?” The good news is that there are several ways to undo the damage of vaping. First, people who develop infections can be given antibiotic pills to help them fight off the germs. There are also several types of mouthwash that can help to keep the tissues of the mouth moist even when a person has “cottonmouth” so delicate tissues will not be as prone to damage.
Getting regular cleanings will also help prevent vaping related damage. Any extra inflammation can be identified, and damage to delicate blood vessels and teeth prevented. In addition, getting regular cleanings has been found to reduce receding gums as well as gum infections (like periodontitis) and other gum diseases.
Salvaging gums can indirectly lead to saved teeth, as gums are the main means of supporting teeth and holding them in place. In addition, several studies have found that receding gumlines are much more medically significant than we previously knew, with periodontal disease increasing one’s risk of heart disease and a variety of other serious illnesses.
Last, orthodontic work may help to correct some of the damage from vaping. Having crowded or otherwise misaligned teeth can prevent treatment and healing as some of the damage is not reachable. Good orthodontic work includes a full evaluation of your oral health as well as a plan for correcting major issues or referring you to someone who can.
Prevention: The Best Cure
The best way to “undo” dental damage from vaping is to prevent it in the first place. If you simply cannot or will not stop vaping, it is essential to take protective measures. See a dentist regularly to get your teeth and gums checked, so any issues can be identified early. In addition, you should see an orthodontist to make sure that your teeth remain aligned, as crooked teeth are at higher risk of being harmed.
Vaping may be marginally better than smoking for your oral health, but is still a very negative decision for your teeth and gums. Nicotine and other chemicals simply are not conducive to good oral health. By getting prompt treatment and preventative care, you can prevent or treat the damage that comes from exposing your teeth to vaping.
Effects of Vaping on Teeth
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I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Illinois University and then received my Doctorate of Medical Dentistry at the University of Kentucky. After, I attended the University of Tennessee to complete my Master of Science in Orthodontics degree.
I consider every minute of continuing education to be vital for my patients and myself. Staying current with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies within my field allows me to improve treatment efficiency and provide higher quality results for each person I treat.