The use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, is referred to as vaping. Vaping is becoming an increased way to consume tobacco. Over the past five years, teenage tobacco use had been decreasing. Unfortunately, e-cigarette marketing used to target teenagers has caused the smoking trend to reverse, and is increasing again. This is posing a tremendous threat to oral health.
How Vaping works
Vaping works by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid is usually made from a combination of chemicals, including nicotine. Some users will use THC instead of nicotine.
Reasons People Vape
- smoking cessation
- misconception vaping is better than cigarettes
- increase in smoke free areas
- recreational use
Oral Health Problems From E-cigarettes
- Increase in tooth decay-Propylene glycol is an ingredient in e-cigarettes that breaks down into different acids when used orally. These acids cause tooth decay and harm the gingival tissue.
- Dry mouth-Propylene glycol also causes xerostomia, or dry mouth. When saliva production decreases, the drier environment makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, and gingiva more susceptible to gum disease.
- Increase in biofilm-Vegetable glycerin and flavorings found in e-cigarettes cause an increase in oral biofilm. This biofilm causes tooth decay and gum disease.
- Softening of enamel-The combination of vegetable glycerin and flavorings in e-cigarettes also cause a decrease in enamel hardness. Consequently, the teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay.
- Increase in gum disease and tooth loss-Nicotine found in e-cigarettes (and regular cigarettes, for that matter) decreases gingival blood flow and disrupts cell function. Both side effects lead to an increased risk of developing gum disease and tooth loss.
The use of e-cigarettes can be more dangerous than smoking, despite perceptions that vaping is safer than traditional tobacco products. Adams and Cheek Dentistry is happy to help our patients with smoking or vaping cessation. Call 919.866.1360 or click here to schedule an appointment to learn more.