Society has been aware of the dangers of smoking for decades now. However, recently a new way of smoking has been increasing in popularity, especially among teenagers: vaping.
Vaping is essentially another way to consume nicotine, through a special device that uses a liquid (known as vaping juice) to transform it into an aerosol that can be inhaled. It’s been promoted as a harmless alternative to smoking, and even a way to help smokers quit.
However, vaping is not as safe as a lot of the brands selling these devices claim. If you suspect your teen is vaping, it’s important to present them with the dangers this habit can have on their dental health:
1. Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Vaping juice doesn’t contain as much nicotine as a cigarette, and some can be completely without nicotine. This substance is known to restrict the blood flow to the gums, which increases the risks of gum disease tremendously. Over time, vaping and smoking can cause permanent tooth loss.
2. Enamel and Soft Tissue Damage
A common substance in vaping juice is propylene glycol which can break down into acids that damage the tooth’s natural enamel and irritate soft tissues around the teeth.
Unlike other tissues in the human body, the tooth’s enamel does not regenerate or heal itself, so all the damage it suffers is considered permanent.
3. Dry Mouth
The mouth needs saliva to break down food particles and even help flush this area of unwanted bacteria and food that can lead to cavities. Both smoking and vaping can lead to a reduction in saliva, which over time can cause cavities and even gum disease.
While you can hydrate the mouth by drinking plenty of water, you should know it is not a replacement for saliva. Even worse, your teen might not be drinking water to rehydrate the mouth, but sugary sodas or energy drinks which will increase their risk of cavities even more.
4. More Bacteria
A lot of vaping juice comes with lots of flavorings, which is one of the reasons many teens find them so appealing. In most cases, brands will use vegetable glycerin to create the different flavors, a sticky sweetener that can turn any mouth into an environment harmful bacteria will love.
Even with great oral hygiene habits, it still won’t be enough to counter the damaging effects vaping can have on the teen’s long-term dental health. And this is not to mention all the increased risks of respiratory issues and even cancer.
Patrick Stuckey, DDS’s Adolescent Care Services
At Patrick Stuckey, DDS, we understand the unique challenges teens are facing when it comes to their dental health, and our services are designed to help them overcome it.
Book an appointment with Dr. Patrick Stuckey today to get started, or call us at (318) 255-8648.