The New Year tends to bring new resolutions for us all. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to quit smoking. Not only is that a great resolution for your overall health, but it is an excellent resolution for your oral health!
Over the years the dangerous effects of nicotine and cigarette smoke on the lungs have been documented well. But do you know the dangers of smoking and vaping concerning your oral health?
Issues like bad breath, stained teeth, and oral cancer are fairly well-known side effects of tobacco use. However, nicotine (found in traditional cigarettes and E-cigarettes) can also cause gum disease which can lead to bone and tooth loss. Smoking and Vaping can lead to Xerostomia (dry mouth) which can increase your chances of cavities because you have less saliva in your mouth to help clear away food debris and bacteria.
Vaping is thought by some to be a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, (and may even be part of your plan to cease smoking) but for our oral health it can be just as dangerous. One of the main components in the E-cigarette liquid is propylene glycol. It is a viscous, colorless liquid that possesses a fairly sweet taste. The breakdown of propylene glycol results in acidic byproducts (lactic acid and acetic acid, along with others) which are harmful to your enamel and gum tissue. Propylene glycol molecules also bond with the saliva in your mouth creating the dry mouth we discussed earlier.
The vegetable glycerin and flavorings used to give E-cigarettes that lovely aroma and sweet taste are also dangerous for your teeth. The viscosity of the liquids actually helps bacteria like Streptococcus mutans (which can cause cavities) adhere to your teeth.
If you’re a smoker or a vaper it is especially important that you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and having your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. Talk with Dr. Jubran at your next visit about additional measures you can take against the pitfalls of oral health caused by tobacco and nicotine.