Vaping, once perceived as a harmless alternative to smoking, may be causing more dental visits due to an increased risk of cavities. A study from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine has found a correlation between vaping and a higher likelihood of developing dental caries.
With 9.1 million American adults and 2 million teenagers using tobacco-based vaping products, the potential dental health implications are vast. The study, published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, aims to raise awareness about the possible oral health risks associated with vaping.
- Previous studies have linked vaping to lung diseases and markers for gum disease. However, the focus on its impact on oral health has been limited.
- This study is the first to specifically explore the connection between vaping, e-cigarettes, and the risk of cavities.
- Data from over 13,000 patients treated at Tufts dental clinics from 2019-2022 was analyzed. Of these, 79% of those who vaped were at high risk for cavities, compared to 60% in the non-vaping group.
- The exact cause of the increased risk is not definitive, but the sugary content and stickiness of vaping liquid could be a factor. When inhaled, this aerosolized liquid adheres to the teeth, potentially promoting decay.
- Vaping has been observed to cause decay in unusual areas, like the bottom edges of front teeth, impacting aesthetics.
- Dentists should inquire about e-cigarette use during patient consultations, especially with adolescents.
- Patients who vape might benefit from a more intensive caries management protocol, including prescription fluoride toothpaste, fluoride rinses, in-office fluoride treatments, and more frequent dental check-ups.
Conclusion: While the data is preliminary, the findings suggest that vaping may have detrimental effects on dental health. Continuous vaping, even after dental treatments, can lead to a cycle of recurring dental issues. The study emphasizes the importance of awareness among both dentists and patients about the potential risks of vaping on oral health.