December 20, 2020
The process of burning an object results in the release of particulate matter in the form of smoke. A similar process is seen when cigarette containing tobacco is burnt. Thus, we know it as the act of "smoking." In contrast, when a liquid converts into a gas form, the process of this transition is called vaporization. As a result, we know this particular act as "vaping."
Smokers can often be characterized by the stains on their teeth. The smoke that is released upon burning of the tobacco contains tar. These get lodged into the rough areas of the teeth, thereby resulting in the black stains. Vaping involves a certain form of steam that traverses the mouth. Like smoking, vaping too is capable of causing inflammation of gingiva, bad breath and decreasing the health of the lungs. These detrimental health signs occur despite different contents in smoking and vaping cigarettes. But is vaping capable of staining teeth?
Smoking cigarettes contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals like ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, lead, etc. Vaping on the other hand contains nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, etc. Smoking by-products, as mentioned before, are capable of causing black stains. Vaping on the other hand, may or may not cause staining of teeth. Nicotine does not directly cause staining of teeth. But after some time, certain reactions take place in the presence of oxygen molecules in the oral cavity that lead to a yellowish staining on the surface of teeth.
The absence of tobacco in vaping by no means indicates that it is safe for the oral health. The vapour produced is at a temperature that may also cause sensitivity of teeth. This is mainly because of the vegetable flavoring agents in the vaping chemicals that are capable of reducing the hardness of enamel. Moreover, this temperature of the vape is enough to dry up the oral fluids. The resulting dry mouth is simply an invitation for microbes to accumulate and cause infections in the mouth. The palate (roof of the mouth) is another region where the effect of vaping is prominent. The nerves and blood vessels are densely present in this area. Thus, the person who vapes might feel a burning sensation in the region of palate.
Aerosols present in e-cigarettes (vaping devices) contain flavoring agents. Nicotine gets absorbed in the body faster and thus activates the pleasure centres of the brain faster than tobacco. This evokes an urge in the person to vape more. The flavoring agents predominate as a result and act on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This leads to the formation of cavities. The body's defense mechanism against caries is done by saliva. But since the salivary flow is decreased in vaping, the cavities are formed faster.
Vaping is often seen as an alternative to smoking. The presence of nicotine makes it a less dangerous alternative compared to tobacco. However, carcinogenic agents and chronic lung diseases are frequently seen in people who vape. Besides, since vaping is done through e-cigarettes, a certain device oriented hazard is something that users should always be vary of. The e-cigarettes are powered by lithium batteries. There have been cases when these batteries have exploded when the device was in the oral cavity. The result of this explosion has led to intensely painful results that range from rupture of the lips to more fatal circumstances that include damage to major blood vessels.
Teeth staining due to vaping may not be as severe as seen in smoking. However, there are other negative effects that vaping has on the oral cavity. These effects as seen above are worse than simply staining of teeth. In-home remedies like toothbrushing and rinsing with mouthwashes might not always be sufficient to remove stains caused due to vaping. Stains due to vaping can be managed by professional dental procedures like bleaching and enamel microabrasion. These procedures involve application of certain oxide based chemical agents that displace the stains from the surface of teeth.
Vaping and smoking are both bad for oral health. As far as stains are concerned, it is only the intensity of the stains that is more severe in smoking than in vaping. However, this should not be interpreted as a better alternative for avoiding unaesthetic stains on the surface of teeth. It is thus wise to refrain from these activities for better functioning of both oral and respiratory health.