If you are new to the world of vapes and vaping, this landscape may be hard to navigate through and even harder to detangle truth from fiction. As vaping is in essence another way to smoke, it seems reasonable to wonder if vaping has the same adverse effects on your oral hygiene. Does vaping cause bad breath? How about bleeding or receding gums? And, perhaps more cosmetic but no less important, will vaping stain your lovely smile?
The simplest way to answer this question is to explore the way in which vaping works. Is it indeed similar to smoking, which can cause many adverse effects for our mouths and our teeth, or can vaping offer an alternative method of ingesting tobacco, dry herbs or CBD without these negative effects?
How Does Vaping Work?
Vaping, although it might seem quite perplexing, is actually fundamentally a simple concept. Basically, a vape is a device that houses a replaceable inhaler cartridge. These cartridges contain polyethylene glycol, nicotine, and come in any flavor you could possibly imagine. When inhalation occurs, a sensor activates a vaporizer to heat a small amount of the liquid in the cartridge. The liquid thus turns into vapor as it is inhaled by the user.
So, as the name suggests, the substance that is inhaled in this process is vapor, rather than the smoke that is inhaled by smoking a cigarette or using a bong. Nothing is being ‘burned’ when using a vape, and therefore no smoke is given off as a byproduct of burning.
What is the Difference Between Vaping and Smoking?
The way a vape works already indicates a major difference between vaping and smoking. Smoke, as has been proven time and again, is harmful for our health, and the health of our mouths specifically, for many reasons. Smoke contains many harmful compounds that are exuded during the burning process that have been linked to cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. For the mouth specifically, smoke can cause bleeding and receding gums, gingivitis, tooth decay, dry mouth, mouth cancers, bad breath. The list is a long one.
Although research is ongoing into the wide world of vaping e-liquids and dry herbs, and the effects it has on our bodies, preliminary results do suggest that vaping is on the whole healthier for our mouths. Studies indicate that vaping diminishes the risk of gum bleeding and plaque buildup, for example. And, indeed, many people have turned to the vape as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, and as a way to quit. This is excellent news, but what does it mean for our teeth?
What Causes Stains on Teeth?
It would be inaccurate to say that smoking itself causes stained teeth, or that vaping itself prevents it. What we need to consider is what, or who, the culprit might be exactly. The answer is not inherent to smoking or vaping in themselves, but rather with three ingredients most commonly associated with cigarettes: nicotine, ash and tar. All of these substances can easily cause stains on many different surfaces. As teeth are porous by nature, after much exposure from cigarette smoke, teeth ‘absorb’ the stain.
Does Vaping E-Liquid Cause Stained Teeth?
It’s easy to assume that because vapes don’t burn and create smoke the way that cigarettes do, that this might indicate nicotine would be less inclined to stain our teeth if vaped. And, since nicotine is so excessively linked with smoking, it might also be easy to assume that vaping liquids don’t contain this substance.
In fact, this is not the case for either scenario. Although ash is not a worry when vaping e-liquid, and tar is a byproduct of the burning process, different vaping liquids can indeed contain nicotine. And although vaping does not super-heat this substance the same way that regular smoking does, nicotine has enough potential for discoloration without being exclusively linked to the burning process.
Does Vaping Dry Herbs Cause Stained Teeth?
So what about dry herb vaporizers? Does what has been mentioned above apply? It’s easy to see why it would cause confusion, dry herb vaporizers do seem to tread the line between smoking and vaping. However, the principle is the same as the e-liquid vape. Rather than relying on combustion, dry herb vapes heat up until the compounds in the herb turns into a gas, which you can then inhale.
Essentially, dry herb vapes perform the same task as liquid vapes, creating vapour by heating the air around the herbs rather than the herbs themselves. The catch here, which might be more apparent with dry herb vaping, is that if the temperature of the vape gets too high, the product inside the vape will ostensibly start to burn, causing the byproducts associated with smoke that could lead to more severe teeth staining. And, moreover, this could be intensified if the dry herb contains nicotine as well.
Vaping and the Potential for Stained Teeth
Overall, vaping does not, I repeat, does not stain teeth as badly as smoking. Within reason. Where smoking tobacco is widely regarded as something that will stain your teeth no matter what (because of that troublesome trio of ash, tar, and nicotine), e-liquid and dry herb vaping have the potential to discolour teeth depending on their ingredients and the temperature at which the chamber is heated. Generally speaking, vaping should not stain teeth unless the vape liquid/dry herb contains nicotine and the chamber is not heated overtly.
Rather than assuming anything about the ingredients in vaping liquids, it is always advisable to read the ingredients list. And moreover, be aware that even though the nicotine in your vape might appear colourless, the second it interacts with oxygen, the yellowish tint that is so detestable, again emerges. So what is the best way to create harmony between your teeth and your vape? Know your facts, be a conscious consumer, and enjoy responsibly!