Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?

By Dr. Annie Macpherson
Updated: 2019-09-15

Introduction

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that allow the user to inhale flavored vapor with or without nicotine. As a new technology designed to help people quit smoking, we are now learning some of the short- and long-term effects of vaping.

Recent research has confirmed what internet users have been discussing for several years:

  • Vaping does have an effect on your teeth and oral health.

So how bad is vaping for your teeth? In this article, we’ll discuss the effects vaping can have on your teeth, and what you can do to avoid them.

How Can Vaping Affect Your Teeth?

Tooth Decay

Different types of tooth decay. Vaping can encourage tooth decay if you do not look after your teeth.

We know that vaping some e-juice flavors will affect your dental health – super-sweet tasting e-liquids are proven to damage your teeth. In a recent study, researchers found that highly sweetened e-juices will have a similar effect on your teeth to consuming high-sugar drinks and candy, reducing enamel hardness up to 27% more than unflavoured e-juices [1].

Vapers contributing to online forums have also provided anecdotal evidence that some e-juices can stain your teeth black, when vaped on a high heat or at high concentrations [2, 3, 4, 5]. Users report that this stain can be brushed away in most cases.

This effect of vaping has not been researched by scientists, so we still don’t really know what is causing it, or if it has long term effects on oral health.

Another common side effect of vaping is dry mouth. Saliva has natural antiseptic properties, protecting your mouth from bacterial infection and buildup. Vaping limits saliva production in your mouth, making you vulnerable to bacterial buildup and tooth decay.

Juul in hand

Vaping With Nicotine

Nicotine also has negative effects on your oral health, reducing your ability to produce saliva, encouraging bacteria build up and tooth decay. Nicotine can further encourage gums to recede, reducing their blood flow.

Whether you smoke or vape, if you are inhaling nicotine, you will be exposed to these risks to your teeth.

What You Can do About it

If you don’t want to worry about damaging your teeth when you vape, avoid highly sweet e-juices, or highly concentrated flavorings.

Apple flavour (hexyl acetate) and the flavour enhancer triacetin had the worst effects on teeth in clinical trials [1].

If you want to vape with sweet flavors, consider brushing your teeth more often and flossing regularly to help protect your teeth from build-up that could reduce your enamel hardness.

Likewise, consider reducing the nicotine content of your e-juice to restore saliva production. If you are experiencing a dry mouth from vaping, use mouthwash to protect yourself from bacterial build-up.

If you are still worried about your oral health when you vape, pay a visit to your dentist or oral hygienist.

They will be able to give you personalised advice on your dental health, and inform you of how susceptible you might be to the dental effects of vaping.

Conclusion

If you are aware of the potential risks to your teeth when you vape, you can take responsibility for them and avoid them.

The take home messages of this article are:
  • Nicotine can cause receding gums after long-term use 

  • Nicotine and vaping can cause dry mouth, leaving you vulnerable to tooth decay and bacterial build up

  • Ultra-sweet flavors can cause tooth decay, similar to sugary drinks

  • You can mitigate against these effects by brushing your teeth and flossing more often, and by using mouthwash

  • Visit your dental care provider if you are still concerned about the effects that vaping has on your teeth

Sources
Dr. Annie Macpherson
Dr. Annie Macpherson

Annie has a PhD in Genome Stability from the University of Sussex. She has first-hand experience in cancer and human disease research. This allows her to provide us with new and unbiased insights into the ongoing research of the public and health effects of vaping. She loves an adventure, and has travelled through South East Asia and Australia working for Vaping Insider.