Vaping is currently being marketed as an alternative to regular tobacco smoking. These e-cigarettes involve the recreational inhalation of nicotine incorporated in flavoured water.
Because of its “less harmful effects” versus tobacco smoking, vaping is growing more popular among cigarette users these days. And with several flavors available with no restrictions in use, vaping has now enticed a larger population and wider demographic.
With the rampant use of vape, we seem to be forgetting one very important thing. What are the possible effects of vaping on oral health? Does vaping cause health issues, gum disease and other dental diseases? Does vaping negatively impact the oral microbiome?
This short read will answer these questions and more.
Vaping vs Smoking
Vaping and tobacco smoking are on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to adverse effects on our health and immune system, with vaping being “safer” compared to smoking cigarettes.
Because vaping does not involve combustion, it is less damaging to the lungs and the body overall. This does not mean that vaping is good. It is sufficient to say that vaping is a good substitute for smoking, especially if you are going through withdrawal and are leaning towards “healthier” options.
However, vaping still poses several risks to one’s oral health.
Vaping and Gum Disease
Despite not being smoke and containing mostly vapour, vaping and e-cigarettes still contain foreign chemicals that disrupt the normal oral environment. With poor oral hygiene, these chemicals attach to the crevices of your mouth and on plaque on your teeth, as well as reduce blood flow. If not thoroughly cleaned, you may develop gum disease or gingivitis. Vaping increases the risks of bad breath and tooth decay.
Aside from this, vaping can cause dry mouth, especially with more frequent use. This can cause inflammation and infection of the gums, which, if left untreated, may result in periodontal disease.
In some worst-case scenarios, excessive nicotine content due to regular use of vape may constrict the blood vessels in your gums. This can restrict blood flow to cause necrosis. Patients experiencing this may find their gums looking dried out and darker in colour.
And if further neglected, mere gum disease may eventually cause oral cancer.
Does vaping cause gum disease?
Yes, among other dental concerns. Especially if you have poor oral hygiene and unmaintained oral health.
But, gum disease from vaping can be reversed if caught early. The key is to learn about the signs and symptoms of gum disease so it can be treated before it can cause further damage.
So what are the early signs of gum disease?
If you are a vape user, here are some telltale signs of gingivitis that you should look out for:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Tender gums
Gum and Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is a reversible condition. With professional dental cleaning and regular hygiene maintenance, your gums will eventually heal.
But, without any proper and urgent dental intervention, chemicals and bacteria in the mouth will continue to thrive in your gums and eventually affect the bones of your teeth. At this point, periodontal disease is highly likely.
Periodontal disease or periodontitis is an irreversible dental condition that weakens the bones surrounding your teeth. And with continuous infection in these areas, the bone will decrease and cause tooth loss.
So, if you are frequently vaping, it is wise to visit your dentist for a preventive check-up and cleaning every six months. With their help, you can avoid gum and periodontal disease and maintain optimal oral health.
Treatment for Gum Disease
If you are suffering from gum disease, here are some at-home measures and professional treatments that are very useful for you:
- Brush and floss three times a day
- Use hydrogen peroxide or chlorhexidine mouthwash
- Have professional dental cleaning and scaling done twice a year
- Avoid poking swollen gums
- Antibiotics – as prescribed by your dentist
- Schedule an appointment with your dentist
Gum Health with Cosmedica Dental
Maintaining healthy gums is one of the best ways to keep your smile looking bright and beautiful. Your gums should look pinkish, feel firm, and be of the same texture and consistency throughout.
If you notice anything that looks out of the ordinary, visit us at Cosmedicadental for a check-up!
Frequently Asked Questions
If your gums are already swelling, stop vaping until you can visit your dentist for dental cleaning. Irritants must be removed to reverse gum disease.
Good oral hygiene is always the key to preventing dental diseases, including gingivitis. Brush and floss your teeth regularly and visit your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleaning. Also, try to vape less frequently so you can prevent chemicals from causing harm in your mouth.
During your dental check-up, your dentist may spot some clinical signs that you are vaping. But, pinpointing the exact cause is not always possible. Only further interviews about these dental concerns will help narrow down the cause.
If you are suffering from gum recession due to gum disease, growing the gums back naturally is not possible. This is why preventive gum treatments are always important.
If the receded gums bother you, you may opt to have them done through gum grafts. In this procedure, some gum tissue is harvested from your palate and patched over the area of concern.