IS VAPING BAD FOR YOUR TEETH?
Vaping is much less damaging to your teeth than smoking. Using an E-Cigarette removes the thousands of chemicals normally taken in with tobacco smoke. These encourage the growth of bad bacteria in the mouth and negatively impact the immune system, leading to a higher risk of infection and gum disease. The elimination of tar by E-Cigarettes helps to stop staining of the teeth and improves circulation to aid gum healing.
It will come to no surprise to any smoker that cigarettes have a terrible effect on every part of the body, but this is especially true on the parts that cigarette smoke comes in direct contact with. What happens to the lungs is well known, but a smoker’s mouth also takes a huge amount of damage as well.
From gum disease and tooth loss, to excess bacteria and the tar staining teeth yellow there are a number of ways that smoking causes damage to the mouth. After all there is a reason that there is a stereotype that a heavy smoker has yellow or missing teeth.
But what about vapour from an e-cigarette, does that have the same effect?
SMOKING VS VAPING - EFFECTS ON ORAL HEALTH
The mouth is affected by cigarettes in three main ways: bacteria, blood circulation and staining.
BACTERIA AND DISEASE: Due to the 4000+ chemicals tobacco products the saliva in a smoker’s mouth is affected, which makes it easier for oral bacteria to stick to a smoker’s teeth and gum. A filmy, bacteria-laden plaque can then grow on teeth and along the gum tissue. Over time this can harden into a plaque or tartar.
This can lead to another stereotype of smokers, bad breath. After all with a huge amount of bacteria growing (and dying) in a smoker’s mouth it can lead to halitosis.
But there are more than one negative effect from cigarettes, a smoker’s immune system has already been lowered, which along with increased bacteria leads to more infections and even gum disease which can attack the roots of the teeth.
Smoking also weakens your bones and teeth, making it easier for them to break. As anyone who has had this happen to them, having a broken tooth could turn out to be very costly and painful!
The last and worst-case scenario is actual tooth loss. This happens when something called Periodontal disease takes place. When the gums become weaker the tissues cannot hold the tooth into the gum, which causes them to loosen and then eventfully fall out.
Using an E-Cigarette on the other hand doesn’t produce much particulate matter which means bacteria is much less likely to grow. The main ingredients present are water, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) and nicotine, none of which give bacteria anything to grow from.
E-Cigarettes also don’t weaken your immune system, so your body can start to heal and stop the progression of tooth decay.
STAINED TEETH: We think of teeth as solid objects, but they have pores like skin, and so can absorb chemicals if given time. One of the main reasons for teeth staining is from the tar in cigarettes, as over time it seeps into a smoker’s teeth and starts to turn them yellow. But it isn’t just tar that can cause tooth staining, the bacteria can also help as well.
As E-Cigarettes don’t contain any tar the chance of them staining your teeth are much lower than a cigarette.
POOR CIRCULATION: The toxins in cigarettes in general cause issues your blood circulation (that’s why smokers are at least 4 times more likely to have a heart attack than a non-smoker), narrowing arteries at the same time reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood.
This affects the teeth it makes it harder for the gums to heal (so increasing the likelihood of your teeth falling out from disease) and gives the bacteria an even better chance to grow.
Over time this lack of circulation can also lead to the wearing thin of tooth enamel which can lead to weaker teeth as well.
DOES E-LIQUID AFFECT TEETH
As e-liquids only contain 4 ingredients there isn’t a huge amount that can be in them to cause issues. Both vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol have been proven to be safe, and have been used in all sorts of consumables like cake, sweets and even toothpaste.
There are some concerns for teeth when it comes to nicotine, as even though it is a colourless liquid on its own the nicotine from vaping can damage the whiteness of teeth and leave a stain. However the effect of nicotine is small compared to the majority of the signature yellow stain you get from cigarettes is caused by tar, so by moving from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes vapers are cutting out most of what is staining their teeth.
Another benefit of only having 4 ingredients is that unlike cigarettes e-cigarettes aren't pumping 4000+ chemicals into your body that are restricting your blood flow, which allows the blood to flow better and gums to start healing.
Another plus for e-liquids are a liquid, there are no particulates (very small bits) unlike cigarette smoke which is full of tiny bits of tobacco. This is important as these particulates are what is used by bacteria to grow and cause all the issues we mentioned above.
However one of the effects of vaping can be cause dry mouth, this normally fades away after a few weeks of use, but lack of saliva in the long term can cause issues with your mouth.
WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY ABOUT VAPING FOR YOUR TEETH?
If you are still unconvinced then have a look at what the studies on this matter have proven!
A study in 2016 looked at people who had switched from cigarettes to E-Cigarettes. The researchers found that the switch led to improved oral health and less plaque and less gum bleeding.
To quote the study “We observed a constant reduction of bacterial plaque on teeth surfaces... until it completely disappeared in all subjects”.
Another study in 2017 compared people who smoked cigarettes to people who vaped. The study found that the group of smokers had higher levels of plaque and greater gum pain than the vapers.
Lastly a study in 2018 compared people who smoke, people who vape and people who do neither. The study found that the smokers had a higher level of gum inflammation than the other two groups. They did find that the people who never smoked has the least, but that could have been down to all the e-cigarette users having been former smokers.
VAPING AND ORAL HYGIENE
The best thing for your teeth is to stop smoking, but if you have moved from cigarettes to e-cigarettes and still want to make sure that you are doing your best for your mouth then we have a couple of tips:
STAYING HYDRATED: By drinking water as a vaper you are not only counteracting any dry mouth that you may experience, but you are helping to strengthen your own teeth. Most tap water these days has fluoride in (which is also in toothpaste) and can help strengthen your teeth and stop tooth decay.
But by drinking water you are also washing away any particulates from what you have eaten and drunk, so giving the bacteria in your mouth less time to feed and the acids in items like juice less time to dissolve your teeth.
VISITING THE DENTIST: This is an obvious one but bears repeating! It can be easy to overlook regular appointments if you teeth are appear fine, but things can change quickly.
BRUSHING, FLOSSING, ETC.: Last but not least, cleaning your teeth after every meal is one of the best ways to make sure that there are no particles stuck in your teeth and remove any acidic traces of what you have ingested.
IS VAPING BAD FOR YOUR TEETH CONCLUSION
To wrap this all up, if you are a smoker who is worried about the state of their teeth, then it might be time to move to e-cigarettes.
Not only are E-cigarettes in general better for you (they are 95% less harmful than cigarettes according to Public Health England and the NHS) but they don’t stain your teeth, cause tooth decay or gum disease, or leave you with bad breath like cigarettes do!
*(when you purchase 1 pack of E-Cigarette refills. One per customer.)