What Is Vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling a water vapor produced by a vaping device, or e-cigarette. Vaping devices were introduced in 2003 and became popular in the United States around 2006. Vape pens and e-cigarettes are all types of electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS.
Many people use vaping to quit smoking since they can control the amount of nicotine being used. The idea is to taper the nicotine, thus weening off nicotine use, until the user can quit smoking altogether. But what are the effects of vaping & oral health?
Studies Of Vaping & Oral Health
Because vaping liquids do not contain tobacco or other poisons found in cigarettes, many people believe that they are a healthier alternative. But not much attention has been paid to the effects of vaping on oral health, and your mouth & teeth. There are 2 new studies that show how damaging vaping can be to oral tissue.
Canadian researchers did a lab study that looked at the effects of vaping for 15 minutes a day on the lining of the mouth. The results showed that the cells lining the mouth were dying at a much greater rate than normal. The typical rate that mouth cells die is about 2%. But that number jumped to 53% after three consecutive days of exposure to vaping. Why is this important? Because these dead cells are needed to protect the mouth from infections and gum disease.
Another study from the University of Rochester found that vaping damages the gum tissue just as much as tobacco cigarettes. The vapors from an e-cigarette are heated and, when inhaled, come in contact with the oral cavity, causing the cells in the mouth to release inflammatory proteins. This aggravates stress within these cells and results in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.
The Oral Effects Of Vaping
The negative effects of vaping can vary depending on frequency of use, type of vaping liquids used, and individual response.
The most common oral effects of vaping are xerostomia, a dry cough, and stomatitis.
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, and a dry cough lack the saliva necessary to maintain a healthy mouth. The absence of saliva commonly causes tooth decay and acid erosion of the teeth.
Stomatitis is an oral inflammation or ulcers located in the mouth, typically on the palate. This condition looks like dark colored pin pricks and can be quite sensitive.
The best thing to do for oral health is to quit vaping altogether. But vaping can be just as difficult to quit as traditional tobacco cigarettes. An effective program to quit vaping may be necessary for success.
While a patient is trying to quit vaping, dentists can treat the oral side effects caused by vaping.
If a patient is suffering from xerostomia, or dry mouth, a dentist will recommend using a fluoride toothpaste and rinse, drinking plenty of water, and possibly an over-the-counter saliva substitute.
Easing the symptoms of stomatitis can require topical treatments, alone or in combination, and may include anesthetics, coatings, or corticosteroids.
Vaping is an increasing trend in the United States, especially to the younger population who may not consider the long-term risks on oral health. Our job as dentists is to increase awareness about the risks of vaping and side effects that can occur that directly affect one’s oral health.
Taglia Advanced Dentistry believes that oral health is directly related to overall health. If oral health begins to deteriorate, this can lead to the cause of various diseases and conditions. If you think you are experiencing issues related to vaping, contact our Elmwood Park dental office to ask questions or book an appointment. We are located near Oak Park, Melrose Park, River Forest, Maywood, Franklin Park, and Bellwood, IL. Don’t put off seeking advice or treatment!