Hidden Danger: How E-Cigarettes Could be Masking Symptoms of Gum Disease
Tobacco has long been known to have a connection to periodontal disease. This is because it contains nicotine. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it shrinks the body’s blood vessels making it harder for the heart to pump blood through your arteries. If your circulation is poor, it can cause damage to your gums, tongue and mouth.
E-cigarettes and Oral Health You may think that smoking E-cigarettes is better for your oral health than smoking tobacco. However, e-cigarettes and vaporizers do contain nicotine, even though it may be in smaller quantities than tobacco. Vaping still has a negative effect on your oral health and can cause teeth staining, bad breath, gum disease and tooth loss. Research shows that nicotine, even in small levels can cause inflammation of the gums. Gradually, as the nicotine continues to deprive your gums from oxygenated blood, the tissue will begin to die and your gum line will recede. The recession of your gums will eventually cause your teeth to loosen.
Masking the Signs of Gum Disease
E-cigarettes can hide the effects of gum disease from dentists, making it harder to diagnose. A telltale sign of periodontal disease is swollen and bleeding gums. Because nicotine restricts the flow of blood to the gums, it can conceal these symptoms, which delays treatment. As an e-cig user, you will be prone to dry mouth and poor saliva production, which will increase the build-up of bacteria in your mouth. Over time it will encourage more plaque than you can maintain and “pockets” will develop in your gums. This will accelerate the rate of tooth decay. If you use e-cigarettes, your dentist will be able to test for gum disease by measuring the depth of these pockets.
Not only can nicotine mask the signs of gum disease, it can make it harder to treat and actually hinder treatment. This is because vaping obstructs healing in your mouth. People who smoke or vape are twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth, even after treatment for periodontal disease. Furthermore, if you vape, you won’t respond so well to treatment.
Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral care is vital for your overall health. Using a toothbrush that is capable of removing the plaque from your teeth, such as a Diamond Sonicare, can help reduce your risk of gum disease. Use dental floss to clean between your teeth as well as below the gum line. When it comes to toothpaste, look for one containing active ingredients that can keep your mouth safe from germs and your teeth safe from plaque build-up. Brush thoroughly at least twice daily. Don’t forget to clean every surface including your gums and tongue.
Remember, e-cigarettes not been fully studied, so their total impact on your health is not yet known. There may be other potential risks to your health from the nicotine or other harmful chemicals which are inhaled while you are vaping.
Zoe Grant is an ex-smoker who has mixed feeling about e-cigarettes and the sudden trend in vaping. She researches and discusses the topic in her articles.