Vaping has become increasingly popular among adults and teenagers alike, with approximately 5% of U.S. adults and a staggering 37% of high school seniors reporting vaping within the past year. Marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, vaping has seen a surge in popularity due to its perceived reduced health risks. However, recent scrutiny has been directed towards the e juice used in vaping devices and the potential impact it can have on oral health, particularly in terms of tooth decay.
One of the main components found in most vaping liquids, or e-juices, is propylene glycol. While it may seem harmless, propylene glycol can wreak havoc on oral health. Dentists have observed that propylene glycol causes dry mouth, a condition where individuals are unable to produce enough saliva to effectively wash away harmful bacteria. The absence of sufficient saliva creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to tooth decay. To make matters worse, when propylene glycol breaks down, it generates various types of acid that erode tooth enamel and expose the delicate soft tissues of the teeth.
But it’s not just the chemicals in the e-juice that pose a risk. The “vapor” produced during vaping is not actually vapor but a combination of aerosols. A study conducted in 2018 revealed that individuals who vape regularly and inhale these aerosols have four times the amount of mouth bacteria compared to non-vapers. These aerosols support the growth of microorganisms that attack tooth enamel, causing decay and cavities. Researchers refer to this phenomenon as microbial adhesion and compare it to the damaging effects of consuming sugary, acidic beverages.
Moreover, emerging research suggests that aerosols produced during vaping may negatively impact gum health. Studies have shown that aerosols increase inflammation and can even damage DNA within the gums. Additionally, they hinder cell division, which can lead to severe oral health issues, including periodontitis, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. While the full extent of vaping’s impact on gum health is still being investigated, it is clear that the potential risks should not be overlooked.
To safeguard your oral health, it is crucial to prioritize regular dental care and appointments. Maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine, including brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, is essential. It is also advisable to consult with a dental professional who can provide personalized guidance and address any concerns related to vaping and its potential impact on your oral health.
At Scott A. Norton, DMD MSD of Louisville, we prioritize the well-being of our patients and stay updated on the latest research in the field. Our experienced team is ready to address any questions or concerns you may have regarding the impact of vaping on your oral health. Contact our Louisville KY Endodontist today to schedule an appointment and ensure the health and longevity of your smile.