Vaping and Tooth Decay: 5 Factors Affecting the Oral Health

Vaping and Tooth Decay

Last Updated on: 26th December 2023, 11:30 pm

What is the link between caping and tooth decay? Surely you have ever seen or you yourself have used an “electronic cigarette” or “vaping” since today it has become very common to use these devices, and finding especially in adolescents and young people a high increase in the practice of vaping, even becoming a habit in many of them coming to cause damage at the level of lungs, brain and also at the level of the oral cavity. So, you should know 5 things about vaping and tooth decay.

But have you ever thought about how harmful it can be to our health? And if we talk specifically about our oral cavity, can vaping cause cavities?

 

What components are found in vapers?

vaping and tooth decay

Electronic cigarettes are not only made up of water vapor. When inhaling, we inhale different compounds that are highly harmful, addictive, and carcinogenic to our health such as:

  • Nicotine.
  • Ultra-fine particles can be inhaled and reach the bottom of the lungs.
  • Flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease.
  • Chemicals that cause cancer.
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.

 

Why is vaping harmful to our health?

Nicotine in adolescents causes, in addition to addiction, damage to brain development that controls attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. It has also been found to cause long-term lung damage, as well as poisoning, intoxication, and harmful effects on our oral cavity.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC, Atlanta), more than 800 cases of patients with lung damage and 12 deaths attributed to the use of electronic cigarettes have been reported in the United States.

 

How does vaping affect tooth decay? 

Our oral health is one of the first to be affected by the use of these devices.

Thus, the main dental and gum health complications associated with the use of electronic cigarettes are similar to those associated with conventional tobacco:

WHAT IS TOOTH DECAY

 

1. Halitosis

Substances present in vapers can adhere to the mucosa of the mouth, tongue, and teeth, giving rise to the bad breath characteristic of smokers.


2. Xerostomia

The decreased salivary flow will irritate the mucous membranes of the mouth, respiratory tract, and digestive tract, causing a dry mouth.


3. Periodontitis

Vaping causes damage to the periodontal tissue, affecting the ligament and preventing its repair due to the decrease of cells, also periodontitis is related to various diseases that affect other parts of the body, such as cardiovascular diseases or diabetes.


4. Decrease of the defenses against infections

Steam causes many cells found in this oral mucosa to die, thus preventing us from protecting ourselves from the different microorganisms that inhabit our oral cavity. In addition, the membranes of the oral mucosa are irritated and favor the appearance of lesions, ulcers of the mucosa, and problems in the gums and teeth.


5. Caries

Appearing initially as a white spot, progressing to enamel caries and consequently causing tooth pain.

All of these symptoms can be evaluated and controlled with our dentist in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, or  Port Hueneme.

 

Vaping and tooth decay

Dental caries is a highly prevalent oral disease that affects a large percentage of the population in different countries around the world.

The British Dental Journal (BDJ), has described this aerosol from vapers as cariogenic, as the decrease in mouth humidity and the affinity of the vapor with streptococcus mutans, form the perfect combination for the flourishing of a dangerous biofilm.

The presence of nicotine that has been found in many of these e-cigarettes will induce the following:

1. S.Mutans growth

Bacterias are found to form part of dental plaque or dental biofilm and are associated with the onset and development of dental caries.


2. Reduction of the buffering capacity of saliva

Saliva has an important property such as buffering capacity that helps to protect the teeth when they are under an “acid” attack produced by the ingestion of certain foods or substances. Inhaling the components of the vape will result in a decrease in the salivary flow and consequently the reduction of this protective factor.


3. Suppression of the immune system

The presence of the different components mentioned above is going to produce the death of many of the cells of the immune system which is going to an inadequate defense of our own organism against any bacteria (S. Mutans) for the evolution and progress of caries disease.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the long-term effects of vaping on oral health are still being studied, current evidence suggests that vaping can contribute to tooth decay due to the presence of harmful chemicals in e-cigarette vapors. Nicotine, for example, can affect the oral microbiome and alter the balance of bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to an increase in cavity-causing bacteria. Additionally, the acidic nature of some e-liquids can weaken tooth enamel and promote the formation of cavities.

To minimize the risk of dental problems, vapers should practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist for checkups. It is also important to quit vaping and avoid using any tobacco products to protect both oral and overall health.

 

Contact us

If you have any questions about vaping and tooth decay or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental as well as our page on Facebook. We look forward to your visit and we will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in  Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Parkand  Port Hueneme will be able to guide you toward the best treatment to take care of your health and give you back your best smile.

 

Bibliography

  1. American Dental Association. (2019). Nicotine and Your Oral Health. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/n/nicotine-and-your-oral-health
  2. Choi, K., & Warnakulasuriya, S. (2019). Electronic cigarettes and oral health: a review of the literature. Oral Diseases, 25(1), 18-26. https://doi.org/10.1111/odi.12899
  3. Lussi, A., & Jaeggi, T. (2015). Chemical factors. In Tooth Enamel Erosion: Its Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment (pp. 22-36). Karger Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1159/000381607
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