E-cigarettes (vapes) continue to be popular among young adults and teens, despite numerous bans on their use in several states outside of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit in 2020 against Juul, a popular brand of vape pens and flavor cartridges, alleging it misled consumers about the health risks of vaping. There are also federal lawsuits against Juul and other e-cigarette companies.
We have seen evidence that vaping hurts your teeth. Read on to learn the various ways vaping threatens your oral health. As we often tell our patients, good oral health impacts your overall well-being (conversely, bad oral health may result in illness).
How Does Vaping Hurt My Teeth?
Let’s be blunt. Here’s what vaping can do for your oral health:
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Stained teeth
- Much worse…
Propylene glycol, a main ingredient in vape juice, breaks down into a destructive acid inside your mouth. This acid can damage tooth enamel and irritate the soft tissues in your mouth. Moreover, vaping causes dry mouth. Because saliva is an essential part of cavity prevention, dry mouth will lead to cavities and gum disease.
Vaping can cause all of these in addition to heart problems, respiratory failure, “popcorn” lung, nicotine poisoning, strokes, and seizures. The nicotine in vapes is addictive and leads to long-term damage to your health.
There are recent surveys that show nearly 40% of high schoolers vape and 17% of middle-schoolers vape. We encourage all our patients to have a discussion with their loved ones in these age groups regarding the dangers of vape products.
Will Vaping E-juice Hurt My Teeth?
E-juice that contains nicotine will restrict blood flow to your gums, which can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease, and poor dental health overall, can lead to other, more serious diseases. (e-juice, vape juice and e-liquid are all the same thing.)
While you can get e-juice without nicotine, the propylene glycol in vape juice is also harmful, causing tooth enamel erosion and damage to the soft tissue in your mouth. Some flavorings in vape juice are believed to increase microbial adhesion to enamel, increasing cavity risk.
Should I Tell My Dentist I Vape?
Yes, we encourage anyone who vapes to let their dentist know. As harmful as vaping is, we also know that it is addictive. Do not delay dental visits while waiting for the day you quit. On the contrary, patients who vape should have regular dental checkups to better monitor potential signs of oral disease.
Regular checkups and cleanings are one of your best defenses against common dental issues such as plaque or tartar buildup, gum disease, and cavities.
We can also perform advanced screening for issues such as oral cancer (with the helpful VELscope oral assessment system), LASER decay detection, sealants, oxygen/ozone therapy, X-rays, and more.