Are E-Cigarettes Better For Your Teeth?
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the United States and has been linked to a number of dangerous diseases. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria on your teeth, but bad habits such as smoking and excess drinking have also been linked to increased risk of gum gum disease.
To avoid gum disease, cancer, and other risks of smoking, many people have been putting out the cigarette and trying out e-cigarettes instead. E-cigarettes were initially marketed as a safer alternative to cigarettes because they rely on vaporized nicotine as opposed to regular smoke.
However, recent studies have shown that flavorings in e-cigarettes can lead to lung disease. As if that is not bad enough, e-cigarettes may explode and have lead to face and teeth injuries including this man in Colorado Springs and a child from Canada. Ignoring all of the other health risks that are associated with e-cigarettes, can we really say that they are better for your teeth than traditional smoking? The short answer is no, or, at least, not as much as some would have you believe.
Why Your Teeth Hate Cigarettes
Smoking, including being exposed to secondhand smoke, can cause oral health problems. The first issue that arises from smoking is in regards to dry mouth. The smoke dries your mouth of saliva, which increases your risk of gum disease and can also lead to dry socket following a tooth extraction.
Cigarettes also are a leading cause of oral cancer. This is all besides more common issues such as tooth discoloration and bad breath. You may think that e-cigarettes are less harmful because they produce vapor instead of smoke, but that’s only partly true.
The Key is Nicotine
Nicotine is the reason that people smoke. This is the chemical that produces the “buzz” associated with tobacco use. It is also one of the reasons why tobacco is so bad for us.
One of the key contributing factors in the development of gum disease is the lack of blood flow to the gums around the teeth. Nicotine can inhibit this blood flow and reduce your gum’s ability to fight bacteria and infection. Additionally, nicotine also negatively affects bone healing after dental implants are applied. This is because nicotine causes your body to produce fibrous tissue instead of dense bone tissue, leaving your bones weak and susceptible to damage.
The best course of action is to avoid nicotine entirely. Smokeless or not, nicotine will negatively affect your oral and overall health.
If you used to smoke, but have since quit, and find that your teeth have become discolored, or you show some of the signs of gum disease, then you should consider visiting a dentist. Park Meadows Dental, located in Centennial, CO, can help get your smile back and put you on track for good oral health. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (303) 759-5652.