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Following recent government calls and the King’s Speech last week, vaping has been in the spotlight. Dr Mani Bhardwaj, Clinical Director, and Principal Dentist of The Smile Studios Dental Group, explains the side effects of vaping on your oral health, and the potential long-term effects:
The effects of vaping on gums are like that of smoking, exposing the gums to heat will cause the gums to dry out, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. This then increases the chances of developing gum disease and tooth loss.
I treat all vaping patients like smokers and measure their habits by documenting what milligrams of nicotine they are using in their vape, as well as how many millilitres of liquid they go through a week.
As vaping is so new, we don’t have the statistics and data to know the long-term effects of vaping on oral health, but what we do know is that our teeth and gums thrive on a delicately balanced system and introducing nicotine and several other chemical additives to this environment, can lead to excess bacteria in the mouth, which can result in tooth decay, gum disease and gum recession.
Recent reports from ASH find that 20.5% of children have tried vaping, up from 15.8% in 2022 and 13.9% in 2020 before the first COVID lockdown.
Dr Mani comments on what impact this rise in younger children vaping could have on their oral health:
In my professional opinion, this is something that needs to be tackled and we will view vaping in generations to come similarly to how we now view smoking. We now know decades later just how bad smoking is for our overall health and more specifically our oral health, and how smoking has caused a huge rise in oral cancer and other diseases such as loss of teeth and severe gum disease, especially in our over-50 patients coming into the clinic.
I certainly believe that access to vapes should be restricted, and better education on the side effects of vapes on health needs to be prioritised, as we currently don’t have a lot of research or data to know just what the long-term effects of vaping will be on our health. Vaping still carries risks of all cancers and oral cell changes, including gum disease and risk of tooth loss.
So, the younger generation who are exposed to vapes need to be aware of these dangers and make educated decisions when it comes to their lifestyle choices.
Much like smoking, vaping can make your teeth yellow. Whilst there is no tar in your vape, over time, the oils and artificial flavours found in your favourite vape can lead to stains, Dr Mani expands:
Vaping does stain teeth because of the oils and artificial flavours found in vape liquids which is inhaled.
Whilst vaping does stain teeth noticeably less than traditional cigarettes, as cigarettes contain high levels of tar and vapes remove the presence of tar, the artificial flavourings, and the sticky aerosol in vape liquids can worsen the appearance of your teeth.
When you inhale a vape, the negative effects on teeth mostly hit the front teeth where the inhalation takes place from the device.
There are a range of treatments we offer to remove stains consist mainly of hygiene, airflow, and whitening treatments, depending on the severity of the stains but your dental practitioner will be able to prescribe the best treatment course for you to achieve your oral health goals.
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