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Vaping and Oral Heatlh

Head obscured by vape smoke According to the FDA, one in 10 people in the United States of middle and high school students vape. While many consider vaping a safer alternative to tobacco smoke, it can still cause severe damages. One of the many adverse effects that vaping has is on your oral health.

How Does Vaping Affect Oral Health?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), e-cigarettes contain many harmful chemicals such as nicotine, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and heavy metals such as nickel and tin.

These chemicals can cause a range of effects on oral health. Some of the many adverse effects that vaping has on oral health include:

Dry Mouth and Breakdown of Enamel

Vape contains propylene glycol (PG), which is responsible for the sweet taste in vape aerosols and increased absorption of nicotine. PG breaks down in the mouth to produce acetic acid and propionaldehyde, which are toxic to tooth enamel. This leads to the breakdown of the protective covering of the teeth.

Furthermore, PG is hygroscopic and absorbs moisture from saliva and oral tissue, leading to dry mouth.

Gum Disease

Although vapes have a lower percentage of nicotine than cigarettes, excessive smoking of vape can lead to dangerous effects. The nicotine can restrict the flow of blood in the gum tissue and affects the immune cell function. This increases the chances of gum disease which could lead to tooth loss.


Aerosols present in vapes can increase the chance of microbial infection. This is because vape aerosols contain vegetable glycerin that adds sweetness to the smoke, as it is 60% as sweet as sucrose. Moreover, vegetable glycerin is not broken down by bacteria in the oral cavity, and it is considered safe for oral health.

However, studies show that vegetable glycerin can increase microbial adhesion to the enamel by four times. When coupled with the breakdown of enamel caused by vaping, the risk of bacterial infection in the oral cavity increases tremendously. The infection can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and affect the overall health of a patient.


Although the amount of carcinogenic chemicals in e-cigarettes are lower compared to tobacco, the chemical present in vaping can still lead to the formation of oral cancer. E-cigarettes contain heavy metal such as nickel and lead in their batteries. These batteries burn to produce aerosols which, when inhaled, could lead to cancer.

Why Do People Vape?

There are many reasons why people, especially below the age of 22, start vaping. One of the primary reasons for vaping is peer pressure. Due to the pressure of fitting in, teenagers often feel the need to copy others. This leads to a trend of vaping.

The second biggest reason for vaping found in adults is to quit or reduce tobacco smoking. Many believe that since vaping can lower the amount of nicotine and harmful chemicals entering the body compared to a traditional cigarette, they are more inclined towards the practice.

Talk to a Dentist About Vaping and Oral Health

The best way to prevent the adverse effects of vaping on oral health is to quit smoking. However, addiction can be challenging to overcome. Therefore, if you vape, you can talk to the dentists at Smile Kids! Pediatric Dentistry, who can perform preventive dentistry to avoid tooth decay, gum disease, loss of teeth, and infection.
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