Have you made a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking? If you have, you may be thinking about using e-cigarettes to help transition to a healthier lifestyle, but you might want to think carefully about whether or not this is the best – and healthiest – way to stop smoking.
E-cigarettes, while a better option than tobacco cigarettes have been linked to a number of dental problems. Before you take that first puff on an e-cigarette, it is important that you understand how it might impact your oral health. This will help you make an informed decision regarding whether or not you wish to use e-cigarettes.
Research Surrounding E-Cigarette Usage is Still Ongoing
While it might seem as if e-cigarettes have been around forever, it wasn’t until a few years ago that people have started gathering data and conducting surveys that look at how usage of these electronic devices impact people’s health. The studies and research that have been conducted can provide you with a general idea about how e-cigarette usage will impact your health, but it will not provide you with a definitive answer on what will happen to your teeth, gums, and mouth.
Even though you don’t have a definitive answer about how e-cigarette usage will impact your oral health, the information gained from the studies and research can help you decide if you wish to use or continue to use e-cigarettes.
E-Cigarette Usage Linked to Bad Breath
Nicotine, which is an ingredient in e-cigarettes, is considered a vasoconstrictor. Vasoconstrictors shrink or narrow the body’s blood vessels. When this happens, the body is unable to produce proper amounts of saliva. Salvia is needed to fight off bad bacteria. If there isn’t enough salvia to fight off the bacteria, it causes them to breed and thrive, which results in bad breath.
Nicotine in E-Cigarettes Causes Your Gums to Recede
In order for your gums to stay healthy, they need to receive a proper amount of oxygen and nutrients. That cannot happen if the blood flow is cut off. Using a vasoconstrictor, like nicotine, cuts off the blood flow to the gums which means they are unable to get the oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive.
While not getting enough oxygen or nutrients temporarily won’t cause too many problems, if it happens for a prolonged period of time the gums will start to recede. Gum recession can lead to gum disease, infections, tooth sensitivity, and tooth loss.
Wait! It Seems like My Oral Health is Better After Using E-Cigarettes
Dentists hear this statement from people all the time. They start using e-cigarettes and they instantly notice that their gums no longer bleed when brushing or flossing and they look healthier. Unfortunately, while this looks good, it can actually be a problem.
E-cigarettes can actually mask various dental problems such as gingivitis and gum disease. These problems are hidden because the nicotine in e-cigarettes constricts the blood vessels in the mouth. The constricted blood vessels cause the gums do not bleed or become irritated. This makes it appear as if you aren’t suffering from gum disease, but the gums could still be infected and irritated, you just don’t realize it.
Should You Use E-Cigarettes?
Deciding whether to use e-cigarettes or not is a personal choice. If you should decide to use them or you have in the past, it is important that you remain vigilant and look for signs of gum disease. The obvious signs of gum disease – bleeding gums – might not be present, but other signs, such as the formation of pockets or infections, will develop.
In addition to remaining vigilant, you will want to schedule regular visits to your dentist. Scheduling an appointment every three to four months will help you discover any early signs of gum disease. Gum disease is easier to treat when it is caught early.
People who live in the Melbourne, Florida area can schedule an appointment for a routine examination and cleaning at Artistic Touch Dentistry. Our dentists will look for any signs of gum disease. We are also willing to answer any questions you may have about e-cigarettes and how they impact your overall oral health.