Many people over the past few years have successfully quit smoking using e-cigarettes or vapes. So far, they have been the most successful method of weaning people off of cigarettes available to the public. They are much more likely to work than nicotine gum, a lozenge, or a patch.
And while we commend anyone for having the strength to quit smoking, the question always becomes, is this healthier for me? Obviously, the smell is better and there is less of a mess, but is it really that much more beneficial for me than smoking?
Today, your Newport Beach, CA dentist discusses the possible damage of vaping, as well as your best course of action if you decide to continue.
We Don’t Have The Data
And to be honest, we can’t really know the full effects of vaping now. There needs to be decades of data for us to be able to understand what each ingredient does to our body.
And our mouths are one of the first places any form of tobacco use can affect. Not only that, but the damage it does is very visible to others, in comparison to say, lung or liver damage. With traditional smoking, the methods of damaging your smile are fairly straightforward. You are lighting a cured plant material and breathing in the smoke. It isn’t very hard to imagine how that wouldn’t be fantastic for your teeth.
However, vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, in scientific terms. People haven’t been vaping for 50 years, simply because the technology didn’t exist. In addition to that, the quality and makeup of vape fluid varies significantly between brands and flavors. It becomes hard to isolate individual materials to investigate, and the problems might not arise until years past initial use.
What Can I Do?
With so many different ingredients being put into these items, how do you even know where to start? Well, there are two compounds that are often used in these that are known to be damaging to oral health.
The first is propylene glycol, an often-used synthetic liquid with a very mild sweet taste. This serves as the base for the nicotine fluid, and when heated, is what creates the artificial smoke. When left on the teeth, it breaks down to acids which can eat through the enamel.
Most people do not routinely consume enough propylene glycol for it to become an issue, but aerosolizing it into the mouth can lead to tooth decay which might eventually require a root canal or an extraction.
The other substance is vegetable glycerin, which is used in the same way. It is also a sweet, viscous fluid, that can be a conduit for the nicotine. Glycerin sticks to the teeth, like a spraypaint, and it softens the enamel, making you more susceptible to bacterial infection and cavities.
Lastly, the nicotine itself constricts blood vessels within the body. This can limit the circulation within the mouth. As a prime entrance for infection, we rely on our immune system to protect us from outside organisms. But without a way to travel to these areas of the mouth, infection can grow rampant within the mouth.
If you have any questions about vaping, or to schedule your appointment, please give Dr. Hofkes at Balboa Dental Surgery a call at (949)630-0143. Or stop by our office here in Newport Beach, CA!