is vaping bad for your teeth

E-Cigarettes: Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?

May 25, 2021

Originally published June 2018. Updated May 2021.

By now, we all know that smoking tobacco isn’t just bad for our bodies, but also for our mouths. Smoking can drastically increases your risk for oral cancer, causes more dental plaque, chronic bad breath, and an increased chance of gum disease.

Which is why they invented e-cigarettes, right? Sorry, but no. Research suggests that vaping is just bad for your teeth as smoking traditional cigarettes.

Over the past few years, sales of e-cigarettes have skyrocketed, while the use of traditional cigarettes continues declining. Since there is no tobacco, vaping is sometimes viewed as the healthier alternative. But tobacco or not, vaping is just as bad for your teeth, mouth, and body.

To help you understand how vaping is bad for teeth, let’s take a minute to break down the mechanics of it.

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What is Vaping and Why is it Bad for My Teeth and Body?

Vaping simply means smoking an e-cigarette. We say “vaping” because, unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t produce tobacco smoke. Instead, e-cigarettes use an aerosol, or vapor, to deliver nicotine into the lungs.

The aerosol produced by e-cigarettes is often mistaken for a harmless water vapor. Hence the myth that vaping isn’t bad. But this vapor contains not only nicotine, which is bad for the teeth and body on its own, but also ultra-fine particles of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, and heart disease.

Health Risks of Vaping

E-cigarettes may not contain tobacco, but they still contain nicotine, which has plenty of health consequences all on its own. In addition to being addictive, researchers now believe nicotine itself has a role in causing cancer. Studies show that the nicotine inhaled through vaping increases your risk of developing cancer by altering the genetic makeup of your cells and stimulating the growth of cancerous cells in the body.

Nicotine and e-cigarettes also promote tumor growth in the following types of cancer:

  • Lung cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Breast cancer

While vaping hasn’t been around long, early studies of its effects are concerning. Short-term data shows vaping:

  • Impacts the health of your lungs
  • Damages your blood cells
  • Increases your risk of heart disease
  • Negatively impacts your immune system

Vaping and Your Teeth

Here are a few ways vaping effects the health of your teeth and gums:

Receding gums

Nicotine restricts blood vessels which reduces blood flow to the teeth and gums. Without enough blood flowing through your veins, your gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. In this way, vaping causes the death of gum tissues, which can lead to gum recession.

Severe gum recession can lead to tooth sensitivity, an increased risk of cavities and, in some cases tooth loss.

Dry mouth, bacteria, and tooth decay

Nicotine from e-cigarettes also reduces the saliva in your mouth. Lack of saliva can lead to dry mouth, plaque buildup, increased bacteria, and ultimately tooth decay.

Bruxism and tooth damage

Nicotine inhaled during vaping acts as a muscle stimulant. This can cause you to grind your teeth (bruxism) or can make the problem worse. Grinding, gnashing, or clenching your teeth regularly can lead to tooth damage and other oral health complications.

Vaping and Gum Disease

Studies suggest vaping also increases your risk of gum disease. The nicotine from vaping causes gum inflammation and swelling which, when combined with dry mouth and increased bacteria, is a recipe for gum disease.

If you vape, watch for these common symptoms of gum disease:

  • Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
  • Red, irritated, or bleeding gums
  • Tender or swollen gums
  • Loose teeth or complete loss of teeth
  • Receding gums

The Final Word: Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?

Although e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, vaping still poses health risks akin to smoking tobacco. It is a misconception to believe that e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional cigarettes, or that vaping isn’t bad for your teeth.

If you’re a smoker or vaper, consider cutting back or even quitting to protect your oral and overall health. Or, stay on top of regular cleanings and checkups and keep informed on the health of your teeth and gums.

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