U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams officially declared e-cigarette use among youth an “epidemic” during a Dec. 18 press conference.

Additionally, Nora D. Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse director, said in a press release that “It is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health, the development of the teen brain and the potential for addiction.”

A National Youth Tobacco Survey by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that kids under 18 who had smoked an e-cigarette in the last 30 days had skyrocketed from 1.5 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018. We find these statistics of great concern since our patient base is largely in this age demographic.

We want to take this opportunity to make you aware of how vaping may affect your dental health.  A 2018 review from the National Academy of Sciences concluded that research suggests vaping poses fewer oral health risks than smoking cigarettes.  However, vaping is still very new, and this conclusion was based on the limited research available. Research is ongoing, and this stance may change over time.  We feel confident that it will.

While vaping may be a better alternative to smoking, it is still quite harmful to your smile and gums. First, many e-juice products contain nicotine, which is well known to constrict blood vessels and cause gum recession. This gum recession can cause loose and wobbly teeth as well as gum disease. Even if you go with low-strength nicotine, chances are good that you’ll still experience the blood vessel constriction that can cause these issues.

Another thing to consider is that some e-cigarette base liquids, particularly propylene glycol, can cause mouth dryness.  Chronic mouth dryness is associated with bad breath, mouth sores, and tooth decay.

You should also consider that the vaping device itself is bad for your teeth. Think of vaping the same way that you would a child using a pacifier. Over time, the teeth begin to bow out because of the constant sucking motion. The teeth in the front may begin to bow out and give a flared appearance, which can only be corrected by more Orthodontic treatment.  We want the smile we create for you to last a lifetime.  Even with continued retainer use, we can’t be certain that vaping won’t damage your beautiful smile.

If you or someone you know is currently vaping, the good news is that quitting vaping is said to be far easier than quitting smoking.  We encourage all our patients and patient family members that are vaping to quit for your overall wellbeing and in order to regain control of your smile and oral health.