Is vaping bad for your teeth?

vaping and gum diseaseLast month, the new Tobacco Products Directive came into power, including its strict new laws on e-cigarettes. Health campaigners welcomed this new legislation, due to concerns over the unknown, long-term side effects of vaping.

Although a report published last month by the charity Action on Smoking and Health suggested that half of all British vapers have now given up smoking cigarettes, there are still some worries about vaping. Not all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, most do and nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Also vapers tend to smoke more than somebody that smokes cigarettes so are inhaling more nicotine overall.

Vaping and your teeth

Smoking cigarettes cause a range of oral health problems including plaque and tartar build-up, inflammation and mouth cancer, and although these are mainly linked to the chemicals found in cigarettes rather than nicotine, but that isn’t to say that nicotine is free of harm.

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which means it constricts your blood vessels, meaning there is less oxygenated blood reaching the tissues of the mouth. As a result, it can lead to gum recession, gingivitis and periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease. It can also mask the signs of gum disease which makes it even more dangerous; typically, there is increased blood flow to the gums when you’re suffering from periodontitis and one of the first signs is inflammed gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, but this is less likely to occur if you have a nicotine habit.

Nicotine is also a stimulant so if you have a tendency to grind your teeth then you may find your more likely to start grinding them more intensely. And, last but not least, nicotine limits your ability to produce saliva, one of the chief causes of bad breath!

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving oral health in the UK, was one of the many health campaigners that praised these stricter regulations. “One of the biggest areas of concerns e-cigarettes remained that the industry operated without regulation. Given the sustained and rapid growth of the number of people switching to e-cigarettes, regulation was an absolute necessity and we’re delighted to see it finally being brought into force.”