By now, patients of our Boulder dental practice know that smoking takes a terrible toll on their long-term oral and overall health. However, what you may not realize is that vaping doesn’t offer a safer solution, not at least when it comes to your oral health.
The use of e-cigarettes – a habit commonly referred to as vaping – has long been marketed as a safer alternative to the use of traditional cigarettes. As a product that offers a fix for nicotine cravings without the carcinogens found in cigarettes, vaping quickly exploded in popularity, especially among teens and young adults.
Unfortunately, now that researchers have had time to fully explore what vaping does to the body, many of the claims made by manufacturers have been found false. Not only are the chemicals used in vaping liquids potentially harmful, the habit itself can fundamentally change your oral health.
Vaping alters the natural bacteria that grows in the mouth, leaving you more susceptible to developing oral infections and inflammation, details the findings of a new study.
Researchers claim that this study marks the first time data has been able to show that vaping can change the natural balance of helpful bacteria and harmful bacteria (microbiome) in the mouth. The results of this study add one more reason to the list of why vaping is a habit that patients who visit our Boulder dental practice should avoid.
Balance Key for a Healthy Mouth
Your mouth contains millions if not billions, depending on when you last brushed, of bacterial strands. Some of this bacteria plays a helpful role in protecting the health of your teeth and gums. Other bacteria, like plaque, can contribute to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.
For your mouth to remain healthy, a delicate balance of good and bad oral bacteria needs to be maintained. Tilt too far one way or the other, and your mouth become more prone to infections and other oral problems.
In addition to disrupting the microbiome of your mouth, researchers discovered that vaping can also lead to increased inflammation, which can also impact your oral health.
As the root cause for all systemic health issues in the body, inflammation can impact your oral health in a variety of ways. From the development of gum disease to oral sores in the mouth, the more inflammation you experience the worse your health becomes.
That vaping can negatively impact your oral health fits with what decades’ worth of research has shown cigarette use can do the mouth. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk for developing gum disease and oral infections. Tobacco use can also change your microbiome, increasing your risk of infection and chronic bad breath.
Despite manufacturer’s claims to the contrary, vaping seems to present many of these same challenges to users.
Study Results Show Vaping a Risky Hobby
In the study, researchers recruited 119 participants, including a roughly even split between people who didn’t smoke or vape, people who smoked traditional cigarettes, and participants who only vaped.
Researchers conducted oral exams on the participants and collected saliva samples to test for what bacteria was living in their mouths.
Nearly 75 percent of tobacco smokers showed signs of having developed gum disease or a gum infection. Of participants who vaped, 43 percent showed these same issues. Conversely, only 28 percent of nonsmokers had signs of gum disease or an oral infection.
When tested for oral bacteria, researchers discovered different types of predominated bacteria in the three different groups. The team found that a shift occurred in the microbiome of e-cig users, resulting in a microbiome that more closely resembled a smoker than a non-smoker.
Researchers also discovered similar trends involving gum disease and oral infection among e-cigarette users when compared to tobacco users.
Overall, the results of the study fairly conclusively show that vaping offers no less danger to a user’s oral health when compared to tobacco use.
Protect Your Health
If you smoke or vape, you endanger your health every time you indulge your habit. At our Boulder dental practice, Drs. Matheson and Bateman highly encourage patients who engage in this harmful habit seriously reconsider whether the satisfaction they receive outweighs the long-term risk to their health.
If you’d like more info on what vaping can do to your oral health, feel free to ask our team during your next visit to Impressions Dental.