E-Cigarette Use and How it Affects Your Dental Health
Lotus Family Dental wants to be sure that its patients who smoke anything in any manner understand how this impacts their oral health. And remember that because periodontal (gum) infections can spread throughout the body, poor oral health significantly raises the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
There are a number of myths about the safety of vaping. One is that e-cigarettes are safer than regular ones. While they do not contain tobacco, they do have nicotine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nicotine can harm the parts of the brain that control learning, attention, mood, and impulse control, which clearly can affect adolescents at a crucial period in their education.
The Effects of Nicotine on Your Gum Health
Nicotine also restricts blood flow and makes it hard for oxygen to reach the gums, increasing the chances that smokers of e-cigarettes will have gum disease. If you vape, you should be alarmed if you notice your gums bleeding when you brush them or even just becoming red and swollen.
What About Vaping?
Another myth is that vaping involves just harmless water vapor. Actually, e-cig aerosol contains particles that have toxic heavy metals that are inhaled deeply into the lungs and can cause cancer. Also, secondhand vapor is especially harmful to children, pregnant women, and non-smokers. If you have to vape, do it in a well-ventilated area away from others.
There is also a widespread belief the e-cig flavors are harmless. Actually, flavors harm teeth because they have acids that wear away tooth enamel, making them vulnerable to cavities.
A fourth myth is that vaping doesn’t stain teeth. While it does not leave the identical level of smoke and tar as regular cigarettes, the food colorings involved can stain and flavors often include sugar and leave a sticky residue, which attracts periodontal bacteria. These also dry the mouth and saliva cannot therefore do its function of clearing away these bacteria.
If you must vape, follow these tips to minimize the impact:
- Rinse your mouth when you are done to reduce the amount of bacteria that will turn into the sticky film called plaque, which can result in gums pulling away their support for the teeth and eventually lead to their falling out.
- Use a tongue scraper when you wake up and before you brush (which should be done for two minutes after breakfast and after the last snack of the day, when you should floss). Scrapers remove the bacteria that accumulate overnight and during the day, especially feeding off refined carbohydrates, like sugar and white pasta, white rice, and white bread.
- Avoid e-liquids with sweeteners, especially white sugar, which will lead to cavities.
- Have your dental hygienist give you a professional cleaning at least twice a year, since she has the tools and techniques to do a much more thorough cleaning than you can just brushing and flossing.
For additional information, you can reach out to our dentists in Westwood and West Los Angeles. We look forward to hearing from you soon!