Vaping - the inhaling of nicotine via flavoured water vapour from e-cigarettes - is being promoted as a safer alternative to smoking. But some studies are starting to link the habit of vaping with increased risk of gum disease. What are dentists observing and what action should patients take to maintain their gum health?
Not as Harmful as Smoking
One fact that virtually all health professionals are agreed on is that vaping is not as harmful as smoking. As a method for getting trace amounts of nicotine into your system, smoking is truly awful - bringing along with it some 40 poisonous or carcinogenic chemicals, plus all that tar and the heat of the smoke. If you are going to do one or the other, then it is better to vape. But vaping should not be regarded as risk-free, especially when it comes to gum health.
Vaping and Gum Disease
Vaping causes your mouth to dry out. Saliva is one of your body’s natural defences against plaque bacteria. With less saliva in your mouth because of the mouth drying effects of vaping, plaque bacteria can multiply and an infection below the gumline can occur. Left untreated, this infection can turn into gingivitis or periodontal disease.
Vaping and Cavities
Some flavoured vape liquids have a sugar content that helps them mirror popular flavours such as fruit sweets or bubble gum. Having a sugar enriched vapour swirling around your mouth will leave a residue that cavity-causing bacteria can feed on. Check the ingredients on your vape liquid, Many brands offer sugar-free varieties that will be better for your teeth.
Vaping and Oral Health
There are other problems such as tooth staining and bad breath that may be associated with vaping. Again, just because these problems are significantly worse in smokers, does not mean that they are non-existent for vapers.
If you have any concerns about the oral health implications of vaping or smoking, speak to your dentist. If you suspect that you may have gum disease as a result of one of these habits, you may wish to make an appointment with our periodontal disease specialist. Call our reception on 01603 632525 to arrange an appointment to organise treatment.