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Because vape pens do not contain the same extra ingredients that cigarettes have, some people think that smoking them causes less harm to the teeth. However, vaping comes with hazards of its own. Does vaping stain your teeth? Yes, and it can do additional damage to your teeth, too.
How Vaping Differs from Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking vape pens, also known as e-cigarettes, have a few differences compared to traditional cigarettes. A smoker of cigarettes inhales the smoke created from burning the tobacco and other ingredients in the cigarette. When smoking e-cigarettes, the smoker inhales a vapor produced by heating the liquid inside the cartridge.
Like cigarettes, vape pens can have hazardous by-products, which the smoker exposes themselves to.
Does Vaping Stain Your Teeth?
If you only look at the advertising claims by manufacturers of e-cigarettes, you might believe their statements that vape pens don’t stain teeth. However, such advertising, since it does not fall into health-related concerns, has less strict requirements for disclosing the complete truth of the product.
Are the manufacturers lying that their products don’t stain teeth? Maybe not. Several factors play into whether and how much vape pens stain teeth. For instance, the formulation of the cartridge liquid and the temperature setting can impact the effect the e-cigarette has on teeth coloration.
For instance, a study of e-cigarettes that had adjustable temperature settings showed that the vapor looked yellow when users set the pens to higher temperatures. The yellow vapor also had a stickier consistency, allowing the discolored vapor to more easily adhere to the teeth and stain them.
Additionally, consistent exposure to nicotine over time can cause yellowing, according to the University of Queensland in Australia. If you only use one vape cartridge every two days, you smoke the equivalent nicotine amount found in three packs of cigarettes.
While vaping can stain teeth, the other damages caused by e-cigarettes pose an even greater risk to your oral and whole-body health.
Other Oral Health Damages Caused by Vaping
E-cigarettes are not a safer alternative to cigarettes. In fact, vape pens damage your oral health in numerous ways.
Dental caries, also known as cavities, happen when decay creates a hole in the tooth that needs repair. A study from 2022 shows that smoking e-cigarettes puts you at a higher risk of developing cavities. If your dentist does not ask you about your vaping habits, let them know. You may need extra care to reduce your risk of cavities.
Anything that causes a dry mouth, whether medications or vaping, can raise your risk of cavities. The saliva in your mouth helps to neutralize the acid produced by bacteria that can eat away at your teeth. When your mouth is dry, you lose some of the protective power of your saliva.
The culprit of dry-mouth e-cigarettes is propylene glycol, which vape pens often use as a carrier liquid. This ingredient promotes oral dryness.
Even if you avoid major teeth staining from vaping, you will still likely develop bad breath, which can feel as socially awkward as having yellow teeth. The dental decay and dry mouth from vaping contribute to this issue.
How to Mitigate Dental Staining and Damage from Vaping
We would advise you against vaping, but if you do, you can take some steps to reduce damage to the health and appearance of your teeth.
Regular Dental Cleanings
The most important way to take care of your oral health and the appearance of your teeth is to schedule regular dental cleanings. These sessions remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, which can leave surface stains. While your teeth won’t look shades brighter after a dental cleaning, you will avoid the buildup of stains caused by plaque.
Dry mouth caused by cigarette smoking and vaping places you at a higher risk of tooth decay. Hence, your dentist may recommend that you visit more than once every six months to check your teeth for signs of damage.
Another perk of regular visits is the ability to talk to your dentist about concerns you have, such as dry mouth, or schedule cosmetic services, such as whitening.
If you develop stains on your teeth from vaping, you can ask your dentist about whitening options to reverse the discoloration.
For moderately to severely discolored teeth, you may want to choose in-office whitening. You see several shades of whitening on the same day. This option is also ideal for those who want results without waiting a couple of weeks to use take-home whitening trays.
Take-home whitening kits give you flexibility when you use the trays. While they take more time than in-office whitening, they give you better results than anything you can purchase over the counter.
Whichever whitening method you choose, if you continue to vape, the results will quickly erase, and you will need to repeat the process sooner than if you did not use e-cigarettes.
Good Brushing and Flossing Habits at Home
To keep your teeth healthy at home, make brushing and flossing twice a day a habit. Plaque develops and hardens into tartar if you don’t brush your teeth, leaving unsightly stains on the surface. Brushing removes existing plaque and food particles that feed tooth decay-causing bacteria.
Quit Vaping and Don’t Use Other Tobacco Products
The best way to keep your teeth white is to quit using e-cigarettes and all other tobacco products. This advice aligns with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) stance on vaping and oral tobacco products. That group holds that vaping and cigarette smoking present equal danger to teeth and gums.
By quitting vaping, you can keep your teeth white, avoid tooth decay, and save money by not buying vape pens and cartridges.
Take the First Step: Contact Us at Matthews Family Dentistry to Help Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Vaping puts you at a higher risk of gum disease, dental decay, and staining. If possible, you should quit vaping, but in the meantime, you need to care for your oral health with the help of a dentist. To reduce your chances of serious harm to your oral health, you may need to see a dentist more often than twice a year for checkups and cleanings.
Start on your journey to avoiding discoloration and damage to your teeth from vaping. Contact us at Matthews Family Dentistry to schedule a visit.