The American Heart Association has issued another dire warning against smoking electronic cigarettes, or vaping. This warning comes on the heels of new evidence that finds that vaping isn’t just bad for the heart and lungs, it’s also bad for the mouth, too.
It seems dentists have noticed an uptick in younger patients who vape, and those patients are experiencing a lot of oral health problems usually seen in much older people, such as periodontal disease and an increased amount of cavities.
Dentists warn that young people are at especially high risk for developing addictions to vaping due to the addictive nature of nicotine in vaping fluid – and the sweetness and flavors of the vaping fluid itself.
Other issues with vaping include the decreased saliva production it causes, which enable harmful cavity-causing bacteria to thrive in the mouth. This increases the amount of cavities in the mouth.
Furthermore, in addition to nicotine, vaping fluid may also include chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene and propylene glycol. These chemicals restrict the flow of blood to your gums, increasing your risk of gum disease. Gum disease or periodontitis attacks the gums, making them red and inflamed. They can also recede, causing tooth sensitivity. In some severe cases, gum disease can cause tissue and bone loss.
Recently at The American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, it was revealed that gum disease can increase your risk of a particular kind of stroke where the large arteries in the brain become hardened. It can also cause artery blockages which contribute to Hypertension. The American Heart Association journal Hypertension even found that gum disease worsens high blood pressure, and can lessen the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.
Another problem? Vaping fluid may be killing off the good bacteria in our oral microbiome, paving the way for cavities and gum disease, too.
So, what can you do to protect your teeth if you’re already vaping? After all, it’s better than smoking, right? Not so, say experts. In fact, since vaping is so new the long term effects haven’t even begun to be known just yet. Your best bet is to never start vaping in the first plac, and if you already have, quit.