October 21, 2019
According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 40 million Americans smoke. In addition, nearly 5 million middle and high school students use a tobacco product, mainly e-cigarettes. Although many tobacco users claim that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking, recent studies have suggested that the habit is just as addictive and harmful as traditional smoking. This harm comes to not just your lungs, but your oral health too. It can even lead to a dental emergency. Let’s take a closer look at some dental issues caused by vaping.
It’s been well-documented that smoking regular cigarettes leads to cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and lungs. However, recent studies have also shown a connection between inhalation of e-cigarette vapors and irritation and inflammation in the soft tissues of the mouth, potentially triggering the development of cancer. Oral cancer is definitely considered a dental emergency because sadly, if it’s not caught early enough, many patients may not live to see five years past their diagnosis.
The carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) and sugars in e-cigarette vapor can irritate the gum tissue and cause infections. If you already have gum disease, smoking and vaping can make it even worse by aggravating the gums. Signs of gum disease include red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, and teeth that appear to be too long or loose. If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to put down the vape and book an appointment with your dentist right away.
Inhaling vapor causes the temperature in the mouth to rise. Doing so causes harmful bacteria in the mouth to thrive and attack the structures supporting the teeth, causing gum disease. if you have gum disease, and therefore loose teeth, it could make your teeth more likely to fall out. For example, your tooth could get knocked out playing sports or taking a bite of something crunchy. Since you definitely don’t want that, you’re going to want to put down the vape to put a stop to gum disease.
The juices in e-cigarettes are loaded with sugar and other sweeteners that are seriously detrimental to your oral health because they can cause cavities. Additionally, the vapor dries out your mouth, resulting in a severe lack of saliva. Because saliva washes away bits of food debris in your mouth, you want as much of it as you can get. Without it, you have an increased risk of developing tooth decay. When a cavity reaches the inner portion of the tooth, it can culminate in a severe toothache that constitutes a dental emergency.
As you can see, nothing good comes from either smoking or vaping. If you need help quitting, ask your dentist or doctor. They have the resources to help and they would be more than happy to assist you.
About the Author
Dr. Katie Montgomery obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2006 from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. While in school, she became an active member of the American Dental Association and the Ohio Dental Association. She purchased her own practice in Marysville, OH in 2011, and has been building lasting relationships with patients ever since. Dr. Montgomery always makes sure her patients have the information they need to protect their teeth between appointments. If you need help quitting vaping, contact Dr. Katie by clicking here or calling (937) 642-1151.
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