Smokers who are looking for a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, and individuals who are hoping to wean themselves off of their nicotine addiction, have been turning to electronic cigarettes. But could e-cigarettes be linked with gum disease? Before you start vaping, check out the information below to discover more about this important oral health topic.
A study from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that e-cigarettes might be just as bad for your teeth and gums as tobacco cigarettes. And the negative effects could be seen on the cellular level.
Basically, the researchers discovered that the vapors from e-cigarettes could result in cells releasing inflammatory proteins that also increase stress in the cells. All of that leads to damage, and that could lead to oral health problems.
On top of that, the chemicals that are used to flavor e-liquids might also cause adverse effects within the cells of your mouth, and certain flavors might be worse than others.
It is possible to vape with e-liquids that don’t contain any nicotine, but for those who are addicted, nicotine-containing e-liquids are their go-to choice. Unfortunately, nicotine itself might also contribute to the development of gum disease.
So, in addition to the flavoring and the vapor from e-cigs, the nicotine that you expose your mouth to when you smoke an electronic cigarette could also cause damage to your gums. Not good!
But wait, how does nicotine damage gum tissue? Well, by reducing blood flow to the tissues in your mouth, nicotine reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that need to reach your gums. As a result, your gums might end up receding, and your saliva production might decrease, making you more prone to dry mouth, tooth decay, and bad breath.
But the scary part is that you might not even know that the nicotine is having these effects because the symptoms might not be obvious, thanks to the reduction in blood flow (after all, one of the main symptoms of gum disease is swollen, irritated, and bleeding gums).
On top of hiding symptoms of gum disease, a reduction in blood flow might even reduce your body’s defenses against harmful bacteria in your mouth. This means that the rate of tooth decay may increase, and the odds of infection may become higher. And the longer you vape and the more nicotine that your mouth is exposed to, the greater the risk of other problems, such as tooth loss, as well.
Even though a lot of people switch to electronic cigarettes, thinking that they’re better for you compared to regular cigarettes, the truth is that vaping could be detrimental to your health in its own ways.
The amount of damage that your mouth incurs will depend upon how much you vape. Researchers are planning on conducting additional studies in order to find out even more about e-cigs and their short-term and long-term effects on human health.
Now that you know about some of the risks involved with vaping, you can decide whether or not you’d like to use electronic cigarettes. If you do choose to smoke e-cigs, though, seeing your dentist regularly could be a smart step in ensuring your teeth and gums remain strong and clean. And with the right dental insurance, you could save money on checkups and cleanings that will help you keep your oral health on track, whether or not e-cigarettes are a part of your lifestyle.