Posted by Dr. William Yoo
Vaping is the process of consuming nicotine or other substances through a vaporizer or e-cigarette. Rather than smoking cigarettes or consuming nicotine in other forms, vaping allows you to consume nicotine without actually smoking. Vaping began as an aid to quit smoking, but its popularity grew significantly. Now, vaping has become a habit of its own.
The vaporizer industry was built on the idea that vaping is an effective, safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. While vape oil does not contain tobacco—the main ingredient in cigarettes—it can contain dangerous amounts of nicotine. Despite being tobacco-free, the presence of nicotine poses a variety of significant health risks on its own. While there are flavoured vaporizer oils that are nicotine-free, the alarming rate of nicotine consumption with vaporizers is cause for concern.
The number of young people in Canada who use vaporizers has tripled over the last few years, and this number continues to increase each year. In fact, more and more Canadian students are opting for vaporizers over cigarettes, despite both substances being illegal for purchase for minors. Unfortunately, although vaporizer use continues to rise, many are still unaware of the health risks of such a practice, even if it is being used as an aid to quit smoking. Here are five ways that vaping affects your oral health:
Smoking and vaping can damage tissue cells in your mouth, including your gums and tongue. Nicotine itself can cause blood vessels to shrink, so less blood is delivered to the tissue. This can cause receding gums, but it can also cause pockets to form in between your gums and your teeth, which can lead to infections and other oral health complications.
Not only can nicotine consumption lead to gum disease, but it can actually mask the impact it has on your oral health. Your dentist will spot the early signs of gum disease as more blood flows to the affected area. This will cause swelling and irritation in the gums. However, as nicotine causes blood vessels to shrink and compromises blood flow, it can be difficult to identify damage in the gums. The longer your symptoms go without being diagnosed by a medical professional, the more damage occurs. These problems are related to nicotine use—not just vaping or smoking.
Bad breath is a common side-effect for those who vape daily. Nicotine compromises your body’s ability to create saliva, which leaves you vulnerable to oral bacteria. This build-up of bacteria can cause infections in compromised tissue and even lead to other long-term illnesses such as heart disease and oral cancer. Not only does vaping cause “dry-mouth”—an uncomfortable condition suffered by regular smokers and vape users—but it can lead to a variety of more serious health conditions. Although vape use is not as dangerous as smoking cigarettes, it still poses risks.
Nicotine also stimulates your muscles, which can make you feel restless or agitated. It is common to see an increase in teeth grinding in those who consume nicotine, and vape users are no different. This can wear down the enamel on your teeth, which leaves you more susceptible to bacteria and more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
For those who were able to quit smoking with a vaporizer or other aid, there is a possibility of relapse. The nicotine content of many vaporizer oils can actually be higher than that of cigarettes, making it easy to fall back into the habit. To prevent this, try to minimize the amount of nicotine in your vaporizer oils. Reducing the nicotine content in your oils to zero is the safest approach.
There is much debate over the effect of vape use. While some scientists and medical experts fear it is an epidemic in Canada, others see the fears of vape use as overblown. Although regular vaping poses a significant risk to your oral health, it can also be damaging to your general health. Vaping daily doubles your risk of heart attack, and it can have a significant impact on lung function, especially over long-term use. While vaping is generally considered less harmful than smoking, it still poses a wide variety of risks that cannot be ignored.
The long-term effects of consistent vaporizer use are still largely unknown. While some of the risks of vaporizing are evident, many of the health effects of vaping will not be known for years—even decades. It is difficult to estimate the kind of long-term damage vaping can have on your health, as many of the chemicals and substances in vapes have not been tested in long-term studies.
To prevent the damage caused by regular vape use, it is important to maintain exceptional oral hygiene practices. You should brush your teeth at least two to three times each day, and use an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent the buildup of bacteria in your mouth. As well, it is important to floss your teeth and clean your tongue, as these areas are two hotspots for bacteria buildup. We also recommend seeing a dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. This can help a dental professional monitor your status and act quickly if your oral health begins to deteriorate.
At Roots on Whyte Dental, we offer a wide range of dental services for our patients. Our general dentistry services include cleanings, fillings, teeth whitening, extraction, and oral exams. We also offer more specialized services such as braces, veneers, dental implants, digital x-rays, and more. Our team of experienced, dedicated dental professionals can help keep your mouth and gums healthy, so you can enjoy life with a smile.
For more information about our dental services in Edmonton, call us at 88-396-4932 or contact us here.