Vaping has become a popular alternative to smoking. In the United States, approximately 9 million adults are reported to be using e-cigarettes as of 2024​. While vaping is often marketed as a safer choice than cigarettes, its impact on oral health is still a growing concern among dental professionals and users.Explore why vaping is not without risks, especially when it comes to the health of your mouth.

Gum Disease and Recession

Vaping can have serious implications for gum health. The aerosol from e-cigarettes can irritate gum tissue, leading to symptoms like redness, swelling, and bleeding. Over time, this irritation can cause the gums to recede. Gum recession exposes more of the tooth’s root, which can lead to increased sensitivity and a higher risk of decay.

Studies have shown that the nicotine in vaping liquids contributes to reduced blood flow, which can impede the gum tissue’s ability to heal and maintain its health.

Dry Mouth

A common side effect of vaping is dry mouth or xerostomia. Many e-cigarette liquids contain propylene glycol, which can reduce saliva production. Saliva is vital for neutralizing acids produced by mouth bacteria, aiding digestion, and washing away plaque and food debris to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

A reduction in saliva makes the mouth uncomfortably dry and increases the risk of cavities and oral infections.

Increased Bacteria

Research has indicated that vaping changes the composition of oral bacteria. A 2022 study found that e-cigarette users harbored higher levels of certain bacteria linked to tooth decay compared to non-users. These bacteria thrive in environments created by vaping, particularly due to dry conditions in the mouth and the presence of nicotine.

Tooth Decay

The sweet and acidic flavors used in many vaping liquids can also contribute to tooth decay. These flavors add to the acid burden in the mouth, which can erode tooth enamel. Enamel erosion makes the teeth more susceptible to cavities.

Additionally, the viscosity of the vaping liquids can create a coating on the teeth, shielding bacteria from saliva’s cleansing effects and allowing them to produce more decay-causing acids.

Potential for Oral Cancer

While the link between vaping and oral cancer is still being researched, the presence of nicotine, a known carcinogen, poses a significant risk. The effects of other chemicals in vape liquids, including formaldehyde and acrolein, which are known to be toxic to human cells, also raise concerns about the long-term risk of cancer.

If You Vape, Talk to Your Dentist About Your Oral Health

Vaping may seem like a harmless habit, especially when compared to smoking, but it is not without risks to oral health. From an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay to potential links with oral cancer, the effects are significant.

At A Dental Place, we recommend that individuals who vape pay particular attention to their oral hygiene. Regular dental checkups are essential for catching and addressing oral health problems early.

If you are looking to quit or reduce vaping, consult with health professionals who can provide guidance and resources to mitigate these risks. Additionally, consider booking an appointment at A Dental Place for a checkup, professional cleaning, and oral cancer screening.