It is common knowledge that tobacco is known to stain your teeth. Many smokers, who had once shiny pearls, are now cursed with yellowing brown teeth, stained from years of tobacco intake. This has always been attributed to the staining effects of tar, the yellow chemical in tobacco smoke which you can see at the end of a smoked out filter tip. It is this which usually stains the teeth and as nicotine vapour contains no tar, and on top of this smoking has been attributed to a build of plaque on the teeth, oral cancer and gum disease, due to the amount of harmful chemicals found within its smoke. With none of these chemicals present in vape juice, you can rest easy with a gleaming white grin on your face in the knowledge that any tooth related problems aren’t from the noxious chemicals from tobacco.
However, there have been recent studies which have shown that in the future, long time vapers could face problems with their teeth.
Nicotine and gum disease – Is there a link?
When it comes to gum disease, there are plenty of links to smoking tobacco, especially due to the noxious chemicals found in the smoke which can attribute to plaque build-up. There are also links to nicotine however, which is found in vape juice. The reason or this is in the fact that nicotine can lower the levels of oxygen in your blood, and as the main point of contact for the nicotine, your mouth will get the full brunt of it. The restriction of oxygen in your blood vessels, or hypoxia, can lead to easily infected gums and a slower healing process.
The problem is that many studies put tobacco smoke and nicotine in the same camp, and so attribute any tobacco smoke effects on the gums to nicotine too. It is important to separate the two, as at the moment the evidence for whether it is nicotine or the other chemicals in tobacco smoke causing the most damage to the gums, is up for debate.
With studies into nicotine finding that nicotine in vape juice has less of an effect on your blood pressure; the hypoxia worry could be void, whilst the effects of other chemicals on blood vessel constriction are more potent than that of nicotine. This makes the studies even more difficult to single out nicotine and perhaps implies a diminished effect compared to other chemicals in tobacco smoke.
Studies on the cellular effects of nicotine from a review in March this year has shown that ligament cells and connective tissues have been effected by e-liquids, causing damage to DNA and proteins in the gums. All of this could lead to gum disease and whilst this is all alarming on paper, the problem with the evidence is that much of it is by inference. Studies showing the effects of nicotine in tobacco have had vaping piled in as potentially having comparative effects. There are no specificities.
Other studies, such as a study by Marco Tatullo and published in the National Library of Medicine showed that ex-smokers who had turned to vaping had generally better gum health.
The evidence is still building, but whilst there have been links between nicotine and gum disease, it si still less of a concern than tobacco and gum disease. As long as if you don’t smoke high nicotine content vape juice too often and keep hydrated, the effects of gum damage will be minimal.