No tobacco does not usually mean no nicotine. Since nicotine is delivered via vaping, all of the health problems associated with nicotine are still there. Nicotine is an addictive substance that’s also a carcinogen. A carcinogen is simply a substance that’s known to cause cancer.
Here are some oral health specific issues associated with nicotine:
- Nicotine reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins. Without sufficient blood flow, your gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. In a way, nicotine chokes out tissues in the mouth from the blood it needs to survive, causing the death of gum tissues. And that’s how it causes your gums to recede.
- Nicotine prevents your body from producing saliva. Not enough saliva leads to bacteria buildup, dry mouth, and tooth decay.
- Nicotine acts as a stimulant that fires up the muscles. If you already grind your teeth (bruxism), it can make it worse. If you aren’t a teeth grinder, you may start. Bruxism is a condition in which you regularly grind, gnash, or clench your teeth. When left untreated, bruxism can lead to tooth damage and other oral health complications.
Since vaping introduces nicotine into your body just like smoking tobacco, it does increase your risk for gum disease. Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Ongoing bad breath (halitosis)
- Red, irritated, or bleeding gums
- Tender or swollen gums
- Wiggly or loss of teeth
- Recession of gum tissue
The takeaway here is that vaping has health risks. It’s a misperception to believe that e-cigarettes are healthier than tobacco cigarettes.
If you’re a smoker or vaper, it’s extremely important to stay on top of your regular dental check-ups.