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Vaping and Your Oral Health

Vaping is the use of electronic or e-cigarettes. It is an alternative to cigarette smoking. However, vaping still utilizes nicotine in the vapor. While e-cigarettes use less nicotine than traditional cigarettes, there are still health risks to the user. 

With an e-cigarette or “vape,” there is a liquid within the pen that heats up, creating a vapor. It is this vapor that the user inhales. The liquids come in a variety of flavors—with and without nicotine. Although vaping is an alternative to cigarettes, many experts warn of damaging health effects to the lungs, including cancer and other respiratory illnesses. 

Unfortunately, the smells and flavors appeal to teens and young adults. This can disrupt parts of their developing brain. This can include areas that control learning, attention, impulse control, and mood. As of 2018, nearly 3.6 million children in middle school and high school admitted to using e-cigarettes, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey. This can lead to negative effects in their later lives. 

Another alarming finding is that people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to develop cavities or tooth decay

girl laughs while looking at the camera. She is sitting outside on the grass, in a row of teens vaping tooth decay dentist in Cohoes New York

Your Oral Environment

Although the research is in its early stages, a study suggests that vaping or using e-cigarettes can increase a person’s risk of developing cavities. This is in part due to the aerosolized nature of vaping and the additive artificial sweeteners. 

Like much of the body, the mouth has its own delicate environment. Not only does it consist of teeth, tissues, etc., but it also houses a variety of bacteria. With a good oral hygiene routine, these bacteria stay in a healthy balance. However, vaping disrupts this vital balance. 

Changes to the Biome

According to the study, vaping quickly changes the biome of the mouth. In fact, vaping for roughly six months alters the oral environment is equal to five years of smoking regular cigarettes. This means that there is a much larger number of bacteria. Those that develop multiply due to the vapor. 

Bacteria consume sugar as a food source. When they do, they create a chemical reaction that attacks the enamel. Over time, this acid will destroy the enamel, causing pits of decay. Not only does vaping cause more bacteria, but it also supplies the bacteria with a nearly unending food source. 

Sticky Aerosol

Along with additive sugars, the aerosols associated with vaping amplify the destructive effects. The aerosol allows the sugars to cling to the surfaces of the teeth. This can make it harder to remove the bacteria. Additionally, the stickiness ensures that the bacteria will stay on the teeth for much longer than normal. 

Unfortunately, this increases the chances of decay. 

Future Worries

While these effects can impact anyone who vapes, experts are worried about the high number of teens and young people vaping. These damaging effects can harm their teeth from such a young age. Therefore, they will have to live with it for the rest of their lives.