Learn more about vaping’s potential health risks.
Vaping. You’ve heard about it, seen it done, or done it yourself. Did you know the global vape market was valued at $15 billion USD in 2020? In 2016, it was only worth $3 billion USD. Remarkably, it’s forecasted to reach $104.5 billion USD by 2028!
It is considered by many as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, but the health risks of vaping cannot be ignored. Although vaping and e-cigarette products are growing in popularity, the long-term health effects are still unknown. Despite that, the damage it can cause to your gums and oral health is becoming more evident.
Read on to learn about the oral health effects of vaping.
What is vaping?
A vape, also called an e-cigarette, is a smoking device that heats a liquid to create a vapor. This vapor is inhaled into the lungs. The liquid, typically containing around 80 chemicals, usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other ingredients.
Chinese inventor Hon Lik invented the electronic cigarette in 2003 after his father died of lung cancer. The pharmacist, who also struggled with an addiction to cigarettes, mourned his father’s death by turning his attention to his work. He put all his energy into developing an alternative product.
In 2007, vapes first appeared on the market. Since then, the industry has grown exponentially with vape products designed to resemble regular cigarettes, pipes, and USB flash drives. Meanwhile, the rates of tobacco use have continued to steadily decline during this period.
Advertisements market vapes as a method to help smokers quit regular cigarettes, but due to the lack of good clinical evidence, the health risks concerning this alternative product are still unclear.
The majority of the 80 chemicals are considered to be safe for ingestion; however, these liquids create new chemicals when they are vaporized together, which may not be safe for inhalation.
Concerning Vaping Health Risks
Research is still catching up when it comes to vaping, but there are certainly significant health risks involved. Diacetyl, formaldehyde, and acrolein are three chemicals typically found in e-cigarettes. They are believed to irritate the airways in the lungs.
Accumulating evidence suggests that, when vaporized, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin can cause significant respiratory problems, making asthma and other existing lung diseases worse. In a 2020 study, vaping was found to dramatically increase young people’s chances of contracting COVID-19.
A remarkable survey was completed by 4,351 U.S. citizens between the ages of 13 to 24, and there were alarming results regarding vaping. Those who used electronic cigarettes were five to seven times more likely to test positive with COVID-19 than those who did not.
“Teens and young adults need to know that if you use e-cigarettes, you are likely at immediate risk of COVID-19 because you are damaging your lungs,” the study’s senior author, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD said.
How does vaping damage your oral health?
It’s commonly known that smoking regular cigarettes has terrible consequences when it comes to oral hygiene. It stains the teeth, causes bad breath, and increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer.
There is no evidence, albeit with little research completed, to suggest that vaping stains teeth. Regular cigarettes contain tar, ash, and nicotine, which turn your teeth yellow and brown. Electronic cigarettes contain only nicotine.
However, vaping does cause tooth grinding due to that same nicotine. This slowly breaks down tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Vaping can also cause bad breath because the hot vapor that is inhaled can lead to dry mouth. In terms of bad breath overall, though, e-cigarettes are widely considered better than regular cigarettes.
There are plenty of studies linking e-cigarettes to gum disease and oral cancer, but the evidence is far less conclusive than the effects of regular cigarettes. Still, in 2019, the American Dental Association took a firm position on vaping.
“Vaping is not a safe alternative to cigarettes or other tobacco products,” ADA President Chad Gehani, DDS, said. “When it comes to your teeth and gums, vaping could be just as dangerous as cigarette-smoking.”
These words of warning unabashedly point to the danger of electronic cigarettes, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your dentist encourages you to quit.
Risk of Gum Disease
Periodontitis, also known as gum disease or periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Electronic cigarettes don’t contain tobacco like regular cigarettes, but they do contain nicotine. That nicotine can cause gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.
The dose of nicotine found in e-cigarettes is typically less than what’s found in cigarettes; however, it can alter the blood flow to gum tissue, decreasing its ability to heal.
Exposure to the hot, drying vapor can also cause dry mouth and wear down tooth enamel while severely affecting gum cells. The cells lose their power to divide and grow, thus making tooth decay and gum disease potential ramifications for e-cigarette users.
For vape users, gum recession is often difficult to identify because nicotine can reduce blood flow to the gum tissue. If you are concerned about the health of your gums, browse through this blog post titled “How Can I Tell If My Gums Are Receding?”
Proceed with caution.
Vaping is rapidly becoming a gigantic industry in the USA. Due to its recent emergence, there is still a distinct lack of data regarding the long-term effects of vaping. As detailed above, e-cigarettes have negative effects on your oral health, especially your gums.
Despite that, some evidence suggests it’s a healthier alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. But plenty more research and studies must emerge for us to truly understand the short- and long-term health risks of vaping.
We strongly encourage our readers to act with caution and be mindful of their gum health. Visit this page if you have an interest in learning how to banish bad breath for good. We’re here to inform and empower you when it comes to your oral health!