Vaping. It’s everywhere. The new trend is taking hold, especially with the younger crowd, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 19 percent increase in the use of e-cigarettes by high school students from 2014 to 2015.
The Food and Drug Administration has recently begun regulating the sales, marketing and manufacturing of e-cigarettes. Going forward, further research must be completed to study the long-term effects of this trend on consumer health and wellness. But the medical community already knows a lot about nicotine, the essential ingredient in liquid used for vaping.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is the practice of inhaling vapor from an electronic cigarette. When the user inhales, the internal battery heats up the liquid and turns it into vapor.
Vaping is thought of as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes for a number of reasons. First, no tobacco is involved. There is also no secondhand smoke to pose a danger to nonsmokers. While experts continue to research the extent of how vaping could affect your lungs and potentially lead to cancer, considering how it affects your oral health is also important.
The primary reason you should be wary of any nicotine consumption, even in the form of vapor, is because it causes gum disease. Nicotine constricts blood flow in the mouth, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients that flow to your gums. This can quickly progress to gum disease.
Some symptoms include receding gums, loose teeth and inflamed gums that bleed easily. Ultimately, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
When you inhale vapor with nicotine, you are ingesting a substance that inhibits saliva production. Why do you need saliva? Without enough saliva, bacteria can grow and lead to tooth decay. Also, dry mouth can lead to bad breath.
Since nicotine is a stimulant, there is also a chance it can make bruxism (tooth grinding) worse. Grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel and even cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.
Don’t Let Your Oral Health Slide
If you decide that the risks associated with vaping aren’t great enough to deter you, it’s important at least to stay on top of your oral health. You need to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily and see your dentist for checkups every six months.
If you notice any problems with your gums, such as if they bleed easily or are beginning to recede, go see your dentist right away so you can get the care you need to preserve your teeth.
Contact Oak Hills Dentistry for more information on how vaping could affect you, and schedule a consultation to assess your oral health.