I am a Kitchener Dentist and I explore a few topics each week to help you understand what's safe and what's not for your teeth and gums. Today, I'm going to explore the idea that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes. I will also look at what effects vaping can have on your teeth and gums.
Vaping liquids contain hundreds of ingredients that aerosolize into small particles before you inhale them into your lungs. There is currently very little scientific data on the long-term effects of inhaling these tiny particles while vaping. For this reason, nobody is able to guarantee (nor should they speculate) that vaping is safer than cigarette smoking.
Let's take a look at some of the ingredients in vaping solutions and what effects each has been shown to have on your teeth and gums.
Propylene glycol (PG) is the carrier component for vaping solutions. Manufacturers us PG in production of polymers and also in the food processing industry. It provides a faintly sweet taste to the aerosols you inhale when vaping. Propylene glycol binds to and soaks up water from your saliva to dry out your mouth. Dry mouth or Xerostomia can cause an increase in susceptibility to cavities and gum disease.
People with Xerostomia tend to have cavities more frequently and require a greater number of dental fillings, overall. Therefore, it appears there is a basis for the idea that vaping can harm your teeth.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is another main component of E-cigarette liquid. It is a sweet-tasting liquid on its own but is not metabolized by cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. So, is it safe?
Well, studies have shown that Vegetable Glycerin causes a massive increase in adhesion of harmful microbes to tooth enamel. Because Vegetable Glycerin is viscous, it helps to increase the ability of the cavity-causing bacteria S. Mutans to stick to the pits and fissures on molars. VG in E-cigarette liquids also decreases enamel hardness.
So, essentially, Vegetable Glycerin in E-cigarette liquid increases the ability of harmful bacteria to stick to softer enamel.
Nicotine is a harmful substance and you can find it in both conventional and E-cigarettes. Many proponents of the notion that vaping with e-cigarettes is safer than traditional cigarette smoking cite the lower nicotine concentration associated with vaping. However, consumption efficiency differs between the two methods. For instance, 1 e-cigarette cartridge (equivalent to 200 - 400 puffs), can deliver as much nicotine as smoking 2-3 packs of conventional cigarettes.
This nicotine has its most harmful effects on your gums. Nicotine reduces blood flow and nutrition to the gums. It also alters the production of immune system cells within your gums and reduces connective tissue turnover and healing. All of these effects increase your likelihood of developing gum disease or Periodontitis.
By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Dentist in Kitchener
Our Kitchener Dental Office is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.