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Is Vaping Better for Your Teeth Than Smoking?

October 01, 2023

There are many reasons that people switch to vaping from smoking traditional cigarettes, and many comparisons have been made regarding the health implications between the two. 

When it comes to your oral health, which comes out on top? 

Given that anything you inhale passes by your teeth, we wanted to set out to answer this question. Read on to find out more.

Smoking & Oral Health

Let’s delve into different aspects of oral health to see how they are impacted:

Gum Disease

There’s a lot of evidence that smoking traditional cigarettes can cause gum disease. It's a mixture of many aspects of smoking, including how it gives you a dry mouth and the bacteria present. Another part of smoking that can cause gum disease is nicotine.

While we know that vaping doesn't have many of the harmful chemicals that cigarettes do – such as tar – most of the time, they do have nicotine. So, does that mean you're also at risk of gum disease when you vape?

The reality is yes, you are at risk of gum disease from vaping, and more research is needed to better understand the impacts of vaping. This need for research makes it difficult to compare the impacts of vaping versus cigarettes on gum disease. 

Decay & Cavities

Similarly to gum disease, cavities and tooth decay are caused by acid being produced by bacteria located in plaque, which collects on teeth. Smoking or vaping is one way this excess bacteria gets into the mouth. Both smoking and vaping can cause a dry mouth, which encourages bacteria that then works its way into the teeth and can cause damage.

While both smoking and vaping cause cavities and tooth decay, the effects and dangers of smoking are far better researched, and we know with certainty that it negatively affects oral health. On the other hand, the results of vaping need far more research before we can be sure of the long-term damage.

Teeth Staining

Teeth staining is a prevalent issue that smokers have, and this is due to both the nicotine in cigarettes and also the tar that’s found in tobacco. So, what's the deal when it comes to vaping?

Many vape e-liquids do include nicotine, but the good news is that they don't contain tobacco and, therefore, tar. The latter is the biggest issue for smokers. Another piece of good news for vapers is that you have more control over how much nicotine is in your e-liquid as there are e-liquids with varying nicotine strengths available – including nicotine-free options.

All of this means you have a far lower chance of staining your teeth from vaping than smoking traditional cigarettes.

Bad Breath

By now, we’re aware that both smoking and vaping cause a dry mouth due to the unusual heat that occurs in the mouth when inhaling either. We know this can cause gum disease and make you more likely to get cavities and tooth decay. Unfortunately, the same can be said for bad breath.

While having a dry mouth seems like it wouldn't be very serious, it can actually lead to many oral issues, including bad breath. The reason for this is that the saliva that should be present in your mouth usually washes away any leftover particles that would lead to bad breath. With a dry mouth, this is no longer the case.

As a result, both smoking and vaping can result in bad breath. 

Diseases Highly Linked to Oral Health

In addition to the above-mentioned oral issues, there are several other diseases or ailments that can occur in the mouth and on the teeth. In fact, oral diseases affect billions of people yearly and pose a significant issue for countries worldwide.

Unfortunately, smoking and vaping worsen these issues and can give you a much higher chance of getting them than if you neither smoked nor vaped.

Oral diseases that we haven’t mentioned yet include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Oral cancer

Being aware of the potential health implications of vaping is essential so you understand your risks. 

Vaping vs. Smoking — Which Is Worse?

Given that both vaping and smoking require inhaling through the mouth, it’s unsurprising that both can lead to a higher chance of oral diseases, especially due to the chemicals that are used, the bacteria it causes, and how they both lead to a dry mouth.

While neither is good for you, it is well known that smoking traditional cigarettes is bad for your oral health. Due to the extra substances cigarettes have compared to vaping, such as tar in tobacco, there are many reasons that vaping is less harmful in general. In terms of oral health, to be able to accurately compare vaping to smoking, more studies are needed.

It’s important to recognize that there are oral health implications to vaping. The research backs this up, so don't be surprised if your dentist guesses you're a vaper.

However, it’s also important to remember that smoking has been around for much longer than vaping, and therefore we have far more research available to us on the long-term effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Vapes Worse for Your Teeth Than Cigarettes?

Smoking traditional cigarettes is bad for your teeth and general oral health. Vaping can also have negative oral health implications, such as putting you at risk for gum disease and more. More studies are needed in order to accurately compare the health effects of smoking versus vaping.

How Do I Protect My Teeth While Vaping?

The best thing you can do to protect your teeth from the adverse oral effects of vaping is to keep up your dental hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and mouthwash. Furthermore, ensure you keep well hydrated to combat the problems associated with a dry mouth.

Final Thoughts

While more studies are needed to accurately compare the effects on oral health of vaping versus smoking, we do know that there is an impact on oral health from both. Due to the nature of vaping, if you vape, you have an increased risk of many oral diseases and general oral health problems.




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