In recent years, vaping or e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, particularly among young adults and even teens. They’re often seen as a ‘healthier’ version of smoking cigarettes. But as more studies come out, we’re finding out more and more ways vaping can be detrimental to overall health. The concerns don’t end there. There are also oral health side effects of vaping that your dentist in Douglasville wants you to be aware of.
Vaping and Oral Health
Vaping bypasses traditional means of smoking by eliminating the tobacco and substituting it for flavored or unflavored liquid. But that doesn’t mean they’re without dangerous ingredients that harm both oral and overall health.
1. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is one of the most common ingredients in vaping liquid, and it’s also one of the things that concerns your dentist in Douglasville. This liquid, when broken down in the mouth, creates various byproducts that are all toxic to tooth enamel and the soft tissues in the mouth. Essentially, it can wear down enamel, weaken teeth, and leave them at risk for decay. That’s not all. Propylene glycol also dries out the mouth and limits saliva production. When this happens, some side effects may include dry mouth, bad breath, and an increased risk for gum disease and cavities.
2. Vegetable Glycerin
Another dangerous liquid found in e-cigarettes is vegetable glycerin, which gives e-liquid a sweet flavor. Vegetable glycerin is found in some foods we eat and acts as a sweetener there too. One thing about this product that pleases your dentist in Douglasville is that it’s not believed to cause cavities. But, when vegetable glycerin is mixed with flavoring, which many e-liquids do, the results are a bit scary. According to one study, flavored e-liquids contributed to a 27% decrease in enamel hardness. That, paired with the fact that the thickness of the liquid in the mouth makes more bad bacteria stick to teeth and teeth crevices, can result in decay.
Just as with traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are addictive thanks to the nicotine content. Nicotine itself brings a whole host of oral health concerns, one being the effect it has on gum tissue. Studies show nicotine can restrict blood flow to the gums and affect immune cell functions, all of which can put someone in danger of developing gum disease.
Even though e-cigarettes don’t require a flame to use, they can still be dangerous. The lithium batteries that power vape pens have a tendency to overheat, and there have been reports of pens exploding. These explosions can cause serious injuries to the mouth and face, and while rare, can even result in fatal damage.
Many people use vaping as a way to stop smoking traditional tobacco products as it’s often seen as a better alternative. However, vaping doesn’t come with its risks. Besides the oral health side effects listed, vaping has been linked to:
- Rapid heart rate
- Congestive heart failure
It’s never too late to quit smoking traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes. The American Lung Association has some great advice and is a good place to start.
After a long day, you may consider skipping your nightly brushing routine and heading straight to bed instead. However, brushing your teeth every morning and every night is crucial to maintaining good oral health and protecting your teeth against decay, cavities, and other oral health problems. No matter how tired you may be, trust your dentist in Douglasville and take two minutes to clean your pearly whites.
The Problem With Acid
Our mouths naturally produce acid constantly throughout the day and night. But thankfully, we have a built-in defense against acid — saliva. Saliva neutralizes these acids and rinses them away before they have a chance to wear down the protective layer of tooth enamel. Saliva production is more active during the day and is working overtime to destroy acid. But at night, saliva production slows down and can’t protect teeth against acid as well. However, brushing your teeth at night with fluoride toothpaste can create a layer of protection against these acids.
Ideally, we eat at least three meals a day, and sometimes we snack in between meals. That means there are a lot of chances for food debris to get left behind at the end of the day. If they’re left alone, bacteria will feed on the food, which increases the chance of decay. Brushing your teeth at night can help remove food particles, stave off bacteria, and protect your teeth as you sleep.
Protection Against Plaque
Plaque is the yellowish sticky stuff that adheres to the teeth. Regularly brushing and flossing can remove plaque and limit its ability to build up over time. When plaque isn’t removed, it can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and even gum disease. In fact, plaque build up is often the main cause of dental problems. Removing it each night can keep you from needing to see your dentist in Douglasville for treatment.
Morning or Night: Which is More Important?
Even though your dentist in Douglasville will always recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once a night, if you absolutely need to choose between the two, brushing at night is actually slightly more beneficial. Sticking to a regular brushing habit at bedtime removes food, acid, and bacteria that have built up throughout the day, protecting your teeth from cavities.
Before you lay your head down on your pillow to sleep, make sure you take some time to brush your teeth properly. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush, angle it at 45-degrees, and gently scrub each section of your mouth in tiny circular motions. It’s also important that you floss in between each and every tooth to remove any plaque, bacteria, or food debris that may be hiding.
Besides brushing your teeth every night (and ideally every morning!), make sure you maintain regular appointments with your dentist in Douglasville. These checkups can remove any plaque that may have hardened into tartar and protect your teeth from oral health problems.