In 2018, the fact that there are negative effects on your dental hygiene from smoking is well known. However, with the widespread adoption of so-called ‘vaping’ in lieu of smoking a new world of problems for your oral hygiene has arisen. Understanding how both smoking and vaping affect your dental, then, is vital if you want to manage it effectively.
So, what are the impact of smoking and vaping on your oral hygiene and what can be done to help?
Vaping is a new fad that is growing in popularity, largely because it is seen as a ‘healthier’ alternative to smoking. But, in spite of this, it still has an impact. Research is still ongoing, so long-term health effects are still unclear, however, there is still the effect of nicotine to consider. If you choose a variety of vaping that includes nicotine cartridges, then the addictive nature of this chemical will impact you in just the same way it does to cigarette smokers. Nicotine can also reduce blood flow which in turn to cause your mouth to become less adept at fighting off bacteria, which can then lead to infections.
According to the NHS Smokefree support website; ‘In the UK e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality. They aren’t completely risk-free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes. E-cigarettes don’t produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke. The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke but at much lower levels.
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it is relatively harmless. Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of chemicals contained in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic. Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people to stop smoking and is a safe form of treatment.’
Public Health England’s 2015 independent evidence review found that, based on the available evidence, vaping is around 95% less harmful than smoking.
Though the impact of e-cigarettes on oral hygiene over a long period of time is still unclear, it is obvious that there are some negatives to be aware of in the short term.
Nicotine and tar are the most well-known of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes, but they aren’t the only things hiding in those small sticks. All of which immediately start to impact your teeth and gums from the minute you start smoking. They can lead to yellow stains on your teeth, weakened enamel (which can lead to sensitive teeth) and even tooth decay. A buildup of bacteria can also cause gum disease, which causes your gums to recede and compromises the stability of your teeth.
Of course, the biggest impact smoking has on your health is that of oral cancer. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes are known to directly cause cancers. So, by smoking, you are putting yourself at direct risk of this illness.
There are a variety of mouthwashes and toothpaste that are specifically designed and marketed to help combat yellow nicotine stains suffered by smokers. However, there is no product or treatment which can help to reduce the oral risks of smoking, which include cancer, than actually quitting.
Overall, keeping up with regular oral hygiene visits is imperative – whether you are a smoker or vape – to ensure that you keep on top of any potential issues.