If like your dentist in Broomfield, CO and you keep up with current trends, you probably know all about vaping, the most common and preferred way for people to inhale nicotine today.
If not, let’s catch you up. The use of e-cigarettes, commonly referred to as vaping, is the process of smoking by heating a liquid until an aerosol is created that can be inhaled.
Because nothing burns while vaping, the habit has enjoyed a reputation as being safer to use when compared to traditional cigarettes. While vaping liquid does contain a variety of volatile chemicals, including nicotine, it doesn’t contain the tar and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke.
As a result of its reputation, vaping has become the preferred method of smoking for those looking to quit traditional cigarettes, avoid the risks that come with smoking tobacco, or not get addicted to smoking cigarettes. This is especially true among younger people. Between 2017 and 2018, e-cig use increased by 78 percent among high school aged kids and up to 48 percent for middle school aged kids. Unfortunately, vaping doesn’t live up to the hype when it comes to being the safer alternative.
Opponents of e-cigarette use state that the claims commonly made by manufacturers fail to properly highlight the potential risks that come with vaping. This creates a situation where many e-cig users may not realize the dangers their habit represents, especially towards their oral health.
Let’s take a look at two of the ways vaping can harm your oral health.
Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
The first risk to consider comes from the e-cig additive propylene glycol (PG). This additive is commonly used in food processing and can be found in a variety of products we eat every day. However, eating a compound and smoking a compound have very different effects on the body.
While safe when digested by the stomach, PG contains compounds like lactic acid, acetic acid, and propionaldehyde, which all contribute to the breakdown of tooth enamel and the irritation of gum tissue when used orally.
Additionally, PG is considered a hygroscopic product, meaning that the water molecules found in gum tissue and saliva won’t bond with PG molecules, leading to the development of dry mouth, a condition commonly associated to an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Another risk that comes from e-cig use is due to the flavorings and glycerin found in vaping liquid. Studies have found that a combination of certain types of glycerin with flavoring agents creates a type of super plaque that’s four times more durable and harder to remove from tooth enamel.
Combined together, not only does vaping lead to increased enamel erosion, it also makes the bacteria responsible for that decay more resilient and harder to remove. As a one-two punch, vaping offers the perfect recipe for needing to see your dentist in Broomfield, CO more often for the treatment of cavities and gum disease.
Excessive Nicotine Exposure
Nicotine exposure is another risk that comes from vaping. While the concentration of nicotine in vaping liquid is far lower when compared to tobacco, the sheer volume of nicotine found in one vaping cartridge far exceeds a pack of cigarettes. In fact, one vaping cartridge can contain the nicotine equivalent of two or three packs of cigarettes.
E-cigarette users tend to take far more puffs when vaping due to the ease of smoking and convenience of not needing to commit to smoking an entire cigarette. As a result, they inhale far more nicotine a day than the average smoker.
Nicotine consumption has a serious effect on gum tissue. Studies have shown that nicotine impacts the blood flow in gum tissue while also inhibiting immune system function. This is one of the reasons why smokers have a harder time fighting off gum disease. They simply don’t have an immune system capable of putting up a strong enough defense.
Not Smoking the Only Answer
Unfortunately, the claims surrounding vaping as a safer alternative to smoking just don’t prove accurate when you look at the science behind what the habit does to our mouths.
As with smoking, your dentist in Broomfield, CO recommends that all patients immediately stop vaping. When it comes to protecting your long-term oral and overall health, there really is no other option.