In December 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General declared the use of e-cigarettes among youth and teens to be an “epidemic” that needed to be addressed. During that year alone, 3.6 million kids under the age of 18 had reported smoking an electronic cigarette, or “vaping”, within the last 30 days. The same National Youth Tobacco Survey done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2017 reported only 1.5 million.
This is why the situation has been designated an epidemic. Teens, especially, are susceptible to many different health risks associated with vaping, including brain development effects and of course the risk of addiction. The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse issued a press release citing the urgency of getting this information, and the message that vaping is not good for your health.
This is concerning to us, specifically, because there are also a lot of negative effects on your oral health that can result from using e-cigarettes. As much as we are concerned about the overall effects on your health, we want to take a minute to help you understand how using electronic cigarettes can be detrimental to your oral health.
Limited research is available on the subject of vaping and how it affects someone’s health. A 2018 review was published that concluded e-cigarettes came with fewer oral health risks than smoking tobacco cigarettes, but research is still ongoing and that information is likely to change. In fact, we can already see many ways in which vaping can impact oral health:
- Many of the e-juice products made for vaping contain nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical, but did you know it can also lead to gum recession due to the prolonged blood vessel constriction it causes? This can cause loose teeth, gum disease, and many other oral health issues.
- Many of the base liquids used to manufacture the “juice” for vaping are known to cause dry mouth. This, in itself, is an annoying side effect. However, when dry mouth is left untreated, it can also lead to halitosis, tooth decay, and mouth sores.
- The use of an e-cigarette regularly is bad news for your smile, in the same way a baby that uses a pacifier too long may have teeth that come in crooked or out of place. The constant sucking motion and plastic piece in your mouth will cause teeth to bow out and can weaken them as a result. Plus, some e-cigarettes and vaping devices have larger mouthpieces that can be especially damaging to your teeth over time.
Fortunately, quitting electronic cigarettes is said to be much simpler than quitting tobacco products, and there are plenty of resources out there to help. It’s imperative for everyone to consider getting rid of that vape pen for your oral health, and for the rest of your wellbeing. Even though the “epidemic” primarily refers to teens, we’re encouraging anyone that is vaping to quit as soon as possible because the oral health risks don’t come with an age limit.