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Can Doctors Tell You Vape by Looking at Your Throat?

October 25, 2023

While most of us go to the doctor prepared to spill all about our lifestyle to fix whatever issue is causing us problems, some aspects might feel irrelevant and, therefore, not worth mentioning. But did you know there are various things a doctor can tell about you without you even telling them?

What about whether or not you vape? We found out - read on.

Signs and Symptoms of Vaping

If you are a vaper and go to your doctor or dentist for a mouth inspection, there is a very high chance they’ll know. While the signs and symptoms that will show in your mouth could come from other causes, the key is usually when these symptoms are present all at once.

Not only are you much more likely to have gum disease and oral infections, but they’ll be consistently causing you problems - and not going away. The mouth is an area of our bodies that can heal much faster than others, but those same issues may worsen when you cause problems by vaping time after time.

Tooth cavities, sore throat, periodontitis, and oral lesions are all symptoms of vaping.

What Medical Tests Can Be Used To Detect Vaping?

The medical tests used to determine if you vape or not will likely be drug tests looking for substances like nicotine and cotinine (a byproduct of vaping). You may not realize it, but substances can stay in our bodies for a long time after we inhale or consume them, and they turn up in places you would never expect.

For example, when testing for cotinine, your hair, saliva, and urine will be tested. Cotinine can stay in your urine for about four days after use, saliva for around 24 hours, and hair for potentially several months.

If you don’t vape nicotine products, the tests will likely be physical examinations of your mouth to look for the signs and symptoms mentioned above.

What Is the Impact of Vaping on Oral Health?

You may already know some of the side effects of vaping, such as how it can make you tired or feel sick, but did you know there are others you might not initially be aware of? The impact of vaping on your oral health can range from easily treatable ailments, such as a dry mouth, to much more serious ones, like extensive damage and even potential cancer due to the carcinogenic properties found in the vapour.

Furthermore, while some of the impacts may seem small (such as a dry mouth), they can lead to more severe outcomes if not attended to, especially if you vape regularly.

That being said, as vaping and e-cigarette use is still relatively new (compared to the much worse cigarette smoking), and accurate, long-term studies have not been able to take place yet, more research is needed to confirm the impacts of vaping on oral health.

Doctor-Patient Confidentiality and Vaping

While your doctor or dentist may be able to determine whether you vape, regardless of whether you’ve told them, you should keep in mind that they are bound by a legal duty to keep that information confidential. If you don't want to disclose this information to your doctor or dentist because you’d like others not to know, you can rest assured that they will not tell anyone else unless you give your express permission.

It’s important to share all relevant information about your lifestyle and environment with any medical staff, as this will give them the best chance at sorting out any issues you may have. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Doctors Tell if You Vape by Your Mouth?

Yes, if you vape, there will be obvious indications to a medically trained professional that you use vape devices. Symptoms such as a dry mouth, cavities, periodontitis, and lesions are all things doctors will look out for, and if found together, the chances are very high that you vape.

Final Thoughts

While you may want to withhold vaping information from doctors and dentists, understand that they will likely be able to tell whether you disclose it or not. This is because vaping can cause symptoms such as cavities and lesions.

You should also be aware that even if you tell medical professionals, they are legally bound to keep the information confidential.

For all your vape equipment and e-liquids, head to RELX now.

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