New Research Says Vaping Increases Risk of Dental Problems

Sydney, New South Wales -

Many people don’t realise that vaping can cause lasting damage to the heart and lungs, but there’s even less awareness about the dangers to oral health.

Patients who inhale vapour from battery-operated devices have a significantly higher risk of developing cavities, according to a November 2022 study by Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Results from more than 13,000 patients show that 79 per cent of vaping patients had high-caries risk, compared to 60 per cent of the control group.

Although more research is needed, Dr Alistair Graham from Mona Vale Dental isn’t surprised by these preliminary findings.

Many of his patients with discoloured teeth and eroded enamel admit to inhaling vaping aerosols, which typically contain nicotine – the same addictive substance in tobacco cigarettes.

“So far we know that nicotine increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, by changing oral microbiome and limiting the flow of blood to gum tissue,” Dr Graham said.

“Nicotine-free vaping products aren’t much better, as all vaping aerosols heat up the mouth and create the perfect environment for bad bacteria to thrive.”

In Australia, most vaping aerosols contain nicotine, which always requires a prescription. Vaping aerosols without nicotine don’t require a prescription, but still come with health risks due to containing unregulated chemicals like Formaldehyde.

Young people expose themselves to these potentially harmful vaping chemicals at the highest rates. Electronic cigarettes are most commonly used by people aged between 18 and 24, according to a 2022 report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Dr Alistair Graham says research into the oral health dangers of vaping is ongoing, but we know enough to see that vaping is detrimental to people of all ages.

He recommends that patients speak to their doctor or call Quitline to get the support they need to stop the habit completely.

In the meantime, dentists can take a number of measures to prevent or limit the damage.

“It’s so important that dentists regularly ask their patients if they use vaping devices. If the answer is yes, patients may benefit from a prescription for high-strength fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to keep bacteria at bay,” Dr Graham said.

Dr Alistair Graham recently published an article titled “Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?”, which contains more detailed information about the oral health risks and treatment measures.