Effects of Vaping on Teeth (and Other Issues)

How does an orthodontic expert deal with effects of vaping on teeth and other dental issues? Most people think that when they stop smoking conventional cigarettes, they have eliminated all of the problems which come with smoking, especially those connected with their oral health. Some try to quit cold turkey with varying levels of success.  Others take measures such as nicotine patches or switching to E-cigarettes, also known as Vaping.

All these measures are aimed at reducing the amount of tar which is inhaled, which has a deleterious effect on oral health. What most people do not realize is that there are other chemicals, in addition to the smoke, which is contained in tobacco.  These chemicals really affect the teeth, gums, and even the jaw. Here are a few things that you need to know about the effects of vaping and how it negatively affects your oral health.

vape smoking


Does Vaping Differ from Cigarette Smoking?

When vaping was a new phenomenon, it was touted as being a healthy alternative to smoking. However, people that have switched to it are still coming to their orthodontics expert and other dental care providers with oral health complaints.  The bottom line is that vaping still introduces nicotine in to the body. This is the addictive substance which make people get hooked on traditional cigarettes.


The Effect of Nicotine on Oral Health

When nicotine is introduced into the body, it causes vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of the blood vessels. When the blood vessels narrow down, they are unable to transport as much oxygen as they should to the different parts of the body. This means that the mouth and the gums will also not be getting the supply of oxygen that they need. With time, this leads to a series of oral health problems, with the most common being receding gums. This can cause a variety of problems, some of which must be dealt with by an orthodontist, including:


  • Wobbly teeth and Malocclusions


  • Overexposed teeth (Gum Recession)


  • Increased spaces between the teeth



  • An underbite or overbite

There are a number of ways your orthodontic expert can address the problems which are caused by vaping. Only a comprehensive exam with the orthodontist will allow them to completely diagnose your problems and devise a treatment plan specifically to address your issues.


There’s So Much More…


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Bite Problems and Vaping

Bite problems generally do not come directly from the use of E-cigs. But vaping can make your bite problems dramatically worse.  In most cases, what happens is that the more your gums recede and expose your teeth, the more vulnerable the teeth become to wear and tear from the overbite or underbite. Gum recession can cause loose teeth, and loose teeth get looser when you chew with an abnormal bite.  This is called trauma from occlusion.  Generally, because the degree of the bite problems will not be as severe as those which result from genetic issues, they can be corrected with orthodontics alone, using braces or clear aligners.  If you have these issues, see your orthodontist as soon as possible so they can stop, or even reverse, the adverse effects of vaping on your teeth.


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Dealing with Crowded Teeth

Negative effects on the bite from the use of E-cigarettes could take years to manifest themselves. However, crowded teeth caused by vaping is much more common.  As the teeth get more exposed due to gum recession caused by the vaping, they may start crowding and twisting. Less gum and bone tissue around the teeth cause them to be more mobile as well.   An orthodontist helps correct the damage by use of either braces or clear aligners. Of course, the correction of these problems should also be accompanied by the cessation of vaping!


Braces versus Clear Aligner

Both braces and clear aligners are very effective when it comes to the correction of orthodontic issues such as misaligned teeth and jaws. There are advantages and limitations to both treatment modalities:


  • For some patients, there is discomfort and problems adjusting to braces for the first few days after they are placed. However, proper treatment planning and oversight by the orthodontist generally minimize these negative experiences.  Clear aligners still have some discomfort associated with them, but it is generally less than with braces.


  • The issue of appearance is big when deciding between braces and clear aligners.  Braces are more noticeable than clear aligners, which some adults do not like.  However, clear braces are also available, which can minimize the visibility of braces.  Clear aligners are hardly noticeable, except to people who are very close to you.  There are small bumps, called attachments, that must generally be placed on the teeth to facilitate proper tooth movement.  These may be seen if someone looks closely at your teeth.  And, depending on your bite, rubber bands may still need to be worn with either braces or clear aligners.


  • Braces and wires cannot be removed during treatment, while aligners can be removed to facilitate easier cleaning of the teeth.  This can be both a positive and a negative, as some patients remove the aligners too often, which doesn’t allow the teeth to move properly.  Clear aligners must be worn a minimum of 22 hours per day to allow the teeth to move as designed by the orthodontist.  In fact, this is the single most negative aspect of clear aligners.  If they are not worn properly, the teeth will not move.  While this seems intuitive, many people just do not follow proper protocol.

Expert Answers…

There is lots of research ongoing about vaping and its effects on the mouth.  Early indications are that e-cigarette use by teens leads to increased usage of traditional cigarettes.  You can read this article on the American Dental Association website about these risks.  If you have questions about vaping and would like to speak to an orthodontist about the state of your teeth and jaws, visit Dr. Eric Nease and Dr. Phil Higginbotham at Nease & Higginbotham Orthodontics. You can be assured that, regardless of the extent to which your teeth, gums and jaws have been negatively affected by vaping or other issues, their team will be ready to offer you solutions to restore your oral health. They will help correct any problems and bring back your beautiful smile!

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Gaffney Office
424 Hyatt Street, Suite E
Gaffney, SC 29341
Phone: (864) 579-7700

Effects of Vaping on Teeth (and Other Issues)

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