Let’s be clear—both smoking and vaping are harmful to your dental health. There are countless scientific studies to prove the detrimental impact, though not as much research on vaping, as it is the newer vice. However, if you are working on cutting back on smoking and aren’t sure if you should taper with cigarettes or switch to vaping to cut back, you may be wondering which is more harmful to your dental health.
While our staff at Riverside Dental Care will always support quitting entirely, we want you to have all the facts so that you can make the most informed choice when it comes to your dental health. Though, in short, due to the tar and staining that comes with cigarettes, smoking is worse than vaping.
- How Smoking Impacts Your Dental Health
- Ways Vaping Affects Your Oral Health
- Smoking Is Worse Than Vaping, But Neither Is Good For You
There is a good deal of research that shows that smoking and other tobacco products are incredibly harmful to your dental health. One of the first visible effects is how smoking stains your teeth. As the nicotine and tar found in cigarettes are burned via smoking, these chemicals can stain your teeth. Because, even though your enamel is tough, it is still a porous material that can pick up stains, especially with repeated exposure.
The buildup of nicotine and tar on your teeth does more than just discolor your teeth. Bacteria can also feed on the built-up tar and nicotine, which leads to more cavity-causing acid to be excreted and wear down your teeth. That is often why smokers can have higher rates of cavities and other dental issues that start with compromised teeth.
Lastly, smoking impacts your gum tissue, causing issues between the attachment between your teeth and your soft gum tissue. The loosening of your gum attachment to your teeth allows for bacteria to slip in and for infections to take hold, which is why many smokers struggle with gum disease. Long-time smokers often need extensive dental services, both general and cosmetic, to help keep their oral health in check and for smile repair.
While vaping isn’t exactly a new phenomenon when it comes to scientific studies, there isn’t enough conclusive research that details what vaping does to your oral health long-term. However, initial findings are not in favor of vaping if you want to take better care of your dental health.
Let’s start with staining. Because there is no burning tar, the danger of staining from that source is ruled out. However, nicotine is also part of what causes a person’s teeth to become yellow, and many people vape using e-liquids that contain nicotine. The higher the level of nicotine in the vape juice you use, the more quickly your teeth can acquire stains and yellow overall.
There is generally no build up on your teeth associated with vaping as there is with smoking, as the liquid-vapor does not leave residue for bacteria. But, that doesn’t mean that the vapor from e-cigarettes is harmless. For one thing, it dries out the user’s mouth. With dry mouth, bacteria can build up on your teeth and gums, as there is less saliva to wash the bacteria away
Also, vaping can hide the signs of gum disease. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it narrows/constricts the blood vessels in the gums. Inflamed, red gums are often an early sign of gum disease, but with the narrowed blood vessels, this early warning sign can be missed until your periodontitis progresses to a worse stage.
As far as we know, at this time, smoking is more immediately damaging to your oral health than vaping. But that doesn’t mean either of these things is good for you, and it is best that you quit both vaping and smoking as soon as possible.
To take care of your dental health, no matter whether you are a current smoker, vaper, or nonsmoker of any stripe, you can work with our dentists to enjoy the best oral health possible. All you need to do is contact us to set up regular dental cleanings and other dental services you may need. We are ready to help you smile your best smile!