When vaping first came on the scene, all the talk was centered around how they were a better, healthier alternative to smoking. But over time, study after study has shown the dangers associated with vaping and this latest study focuses on how vaping affects oral health. According to the study, patients who vape was more likely to have a higher risk of developing cavities.
The study, conducted at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, is the first known specialty to investigate the association of vaping and e-cigarettes with the increased risk of getting cavities. This comes as a bit of a surprise considering 9.1 million adults and 2 million teenagers use tobacco-related vaping products.
Researchers believe one reason for the increase in cavity risk could be the sugary content and viscosity of vaping liquid. Once aerosolized and inhaled through the mouth, it sticks to teeth. Other studies have found these aerosols actually change the oral microbiome and make it more hospitable to bacteria that cause decay, including areas that normally don’t see a lot of decay like the bottom edges of the front teeth.
The researchers from Tufts are encouraging dental practitioners to screen for e-cigarette use when gathering medical histories and when use is confirmed, implementing a more rigorous cavity prevention protocol involving fluoride rinses, toothpastes and in-office treatments. This makes sense as it’s always easier to prevent dental decay than it is to treat it once it begins.
If you do vape, it’s important to take a look at your oral hygiene routine and see where it can be improved. Now that you know you’re at a higher risk for developing cavities, you can take preventative measures seriously in your daily life. One simple thing you can add to your day-to-day routine is rinsing your mouth after vaping. If you don’t have mouth rinse on you, even rinsing with water can help neutralize chemical reactions in the mouth that occur from the sugary content in vaping aerosols mixing with bacteria in the mouth.
At your next appointment, be sure to mention your vaping habit so we can help you prevent tooth decay with things like an extra fluoride treatment and we can make recommendations on things you can do at home and products you can use to help you in your fight against cavities.