“No Doc… I don’t smoke, I only vape which is safe right?”
Unfortunately, I am hearing this sentence a lot more in my dental chair. Most of us know that smoking isn’t good for you, so the healthier way is to vape. Right? Vaping is fairly new and we don’t know all the serious health problems that may develop from it.
WHAT IS VAPING?
“E-cigs”, “vapes” or “JUULs” are all battery-powered devices that heat nicotine juice to create an aerosol or vapor, which is inhaled by the user. They come in many variety of sizes and shapes. Some even look like a USB flash drive that teenagers especially like.
WHAT IS IN THE AEROSOLS?
Studies have found that these aerosols contain chemicals that are known to cause cancer or serious lung diseases, like asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). They have found antifreeze, lead, chromium, and others.
One main component is propylene glycol, which is also used in sweeteners and ice cream. Unfortunately, when it gets in your oral cavity it breaks down into acids that are toxic to your gums and also “soften” your enamel.
Another chemical found is vegetable glycerin. This must be safe right? Wrong!!! When mixed with the flavored e-liquids it actually encourages bacteria to stick to enamel and create biofilms, which increases cavities.
What about these flavorings? Well this is the main draw, especially for our teens because the vapor can taste sweet. Flavored e-liquids cause 27% more damage to our enamel over the unflavored ones.
Yes, some contain less nicotine than cigarettes, but it has been found that one JUUL can contain as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes. Nicotine can cause a reduction in blood flow to the gums which wreaks havoc in your mouth. It can also trigger dry mouth which increases your risk for cavities.
EFFECTS ON THE ORAL CAVITY
- Xerostomia – Increases your risk of cavities and dry mouth, individuals (especially teens) tend to drink sugary drinks to deal with the dry mouth.
- Sugar flavorings – Increases cavity risk
- Oral Cancer – From the high heat vapor and chemicals in the aerosols
- Mouth sores and ulcers from heated chemical vapors
- Gum Disease from the nicotine
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
First of all, if you have never tried Vaping… for goodness sakes, don’t start. If you have kids, do start know discussing with them all the dangers and consequences and discuss often. If you are vaping or know someone who is, seek help. There are many websites out there designed to help you quit smoking and vaping. A few of my favorites are www.thetruth.com/vaping and www.nobutts.org.
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