The Effects of Vaping on Oral Health.. What Does Science Tell Us? (2023)

A study analyzing the oral health of 110 smokers who had just switched to vaping, reported great improvements in gum bleeding.

Speaking recently for National Smile Month, Dr Affan Saghir, owner of Space Dental, a luxury cosmetic dental clinic in the UK, said that anyone wishing to maintain a healthy smile should steer clear of tobacco and vaping products. And while the effect of vaping is still debatable for many, the negative impact of combustible tobacco is a widely accepted fact.

In fact experts in the field are all in agreement that smokers’ teeth are less white than those of non-smokers. A study by award winning researcher Riccardo Polosa, Professor of Medicine and Founder of CoEHAR at the University of Catania, and Giovanni Zucchelli, professor of Periodontology University of Bologna, analysed this further.

Titled, “Repeatability of dental shade by digital spectrophotometry in current, former, and never smokers,” the study examined and compared the differences in the color of teeth withing a group of smokers and a group of non-smokers. The Italian researchers found that indeed the teeth of smokers were significantly less white than those of non-smokers.

On contacting Dr. Polosa to discuss the topic, he explained that in his opinion this is a good angle to tackle smoking cessation from, as aesthetics may be more of a current priority for young people. “The reason why I consider this important is because we are aware of an aesthetic narrative for younger smokers… We all agree that an
aesthetic-based narrative would convincingly resonate among young
smokers. The notion of improvement in dental whiteness could drive
thousands of young smokers away from combustible tobacco!”

He summarized three crucial points that emerged from the study:

(Video) How vaping can damage teeth

“1. The study findings demonstrate that current smokers’ teeth are
significantly less white than nonsmokers’ teeth. Furthermore, after
quitting smoking, teeth whiteness improves.

2. Aesthetic considerations may become a much more compelling
motivation to quit smoking, especially for young smokers who perceive
bad breath and teeth appearance (owing to tooth discolouration and
“tar”/tobacco stains) as a major issue.

3. The use of tar-free nicotine delivery technology (such as
electronic cigarettes or heated tobacco products) is likely to improve
dental appearance, ongoing international research coordinated by
CoEHAR will soon provide definitive results.”

Another Italian observational study carried out at the Unit of Periodontology and Oral Hygiene of Calabrodental Clinic in Crotone, had analyzed the oral health of 110 smokers who had just switched to vaping. At the start of the study, 61% in group 1 and 65% in group 2, experienced gum bleeding, when re-examined at the end of the study, 92% and 98% respectively, experienced no bleeding.

Studies suggesting that vapes have a negative impact on dental health

In contrast, earlier this year CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®, a non-profit focused on contributing to a better national oral health system, released a report suggesting several oral health risks associated with the use of e-cigarettes.

Among these health risks, says the report, are gum disease, dental decay, bone loss, and hairy tongue. The paper said that medical professionals need to educate their patients about these risks, however it did not compare the relative benefits for users when they switch from smoking cigarettes.

(Video) What the science says about the safety of e-cigarettes

Another relatively recent study indicated that the sugar content of e-liquids may promote teeth cavities. Titled, “A comparison of the caries risk between patients who use vapes or electronic cigarettes and those who do not,” the study was published online in the Journal of the American Dental Association. Analysing the association between vaping and possible caries risk level, the research team found that vapers had a higher risk of developing them.

Similarly North Carolina dentists have reported noticing an increase and tooth and gum problems among young people who vape. These problems include chronically dry mouth and increased risk for tooth decay, sore gums, grinding the teeth and tooth decay according to Dentist Dr. Anbec DeShield-Mayes, owner of BestMouth Dental in Greensboro.

“We try to give them things to help rehydrate their teeth,” said DeShield-Mayes. “We tell them to drink plenty of water, brushing twice a day, flossing. These are things that I’m seeing with my patients that I’m finding out now are new ‘vapers,’ or have switched from smoking to vaping.”

While another study published in JAMA Network Open, warned that people who vape may be putting themselves at risk of developing gum disease. Titled, “Tobacco Use and Incidence of Adverse Oral Health Outcomes Among US Adults in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study,” the study used data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to look at associations between the use of combustible tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), and developing oral health problems like gum disease.

The research team analyzed data about respondents aged 18 years and above, without lifetime history of oral health conditions. They found associations between current combustible tobacco use with the incidence of adverse oral health outcomes and also links between current ENDS use and the incidence of bleeding after brushing or flossing.

Dentists in Australia are also growing increasingly concerned about the effects of vaping on their patients’ oral health in general. Among other things, the dentists in question mentioned stained teeth, gum disease, bad breath, tooth decay, and also wounds from exploded devices. Principal surgeon Michael Cai from Pitt Street Dental Centre said that the negative impact of vaping is as serious as the one from smoking. “One of the explosions was so bad it broke off two lower front teeth, it was pretty horrible,” said Dr Cai. “The patient ended up having dental implants and they are costly.”

(Video) How Does Vaping Affect Oral Health?

He added that some e-liquids contain components that stain teeth. “For example watermelon flavour will have pink dye in it that stains the teeth pink,” he said. While Australian Dental Association spokeswoman Sue Ching-Yeoh said that the extent of damage is difficult to measure.

Inaccuracies spread about vaping and oral health

The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) discussed a recently published inaccurate article linking vaping to gum disease. The Times newspaper recently published an article titled “Elf bars and me: I am a vaping addict, so will I get gum disease?,” in their health section. Amongst other things, the author inaccurately claims that using just one disposable vape roughly equates to consuming the same amount of nicotine found in 45 cigarettes. This is not even possible explained the IBVTA.

“The UK legal limits on these products are a maximum of 2 millilitres of liquid and 20 milligrams of nicotine per ml. That is 40mg of nicotine in total. Given the average nicotine content of a tobacco cigarettes is 10-12 mg, it is difficult to see how the journalist came up with her figure of 45 cigarettes. It is more like 4.”

The article author goes on to irresponsibly make refer to unsubstantiated claims made by teenagers in social media videos, claiming that vaping is causing them gum disease. Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher professor of public health at Edinburgh University responded to the piece saying it is a “good example of how not to write a health-related article and how not to consult anyone from the UK who has conducted research on the topic”. She added that it was “unusually poor from The Times’’.

Similarly, four dental experts from Newcastle University’s School of Dental Sciences have recently spoken up against some inaccuracies recently spread by two food science lecturers at the Cardiff Metropolitan University School of Sport and Health Science, who have recently made several claims on how vaping allegedly causes tooth damage.

Dr Richard Holliday, Professor Elaine McColl, Anthony Weke, and Zella Sayeed, published a letter in the British Dental Journal by Newcastle University, explaining how the claims are inaccurate.

(Video) Vaping effects on oral health

“Tellingly, all UK public bodies, including the NHS, ignore the WHO’s advice. They support vaping, knowing it does not erode teeth nor lead to gum disease.” They said they would like to, “point UK dental professionals to the well-considered public health guidance which basically concludes that, for the best chances of quitting smoking, one should use support and pharmacotherapy and that e-cigarettes can be part of that package.”

The experts explained that the two authors cited a WHO poster and incorrectly claimed that nicotine causes a “high risk of oral and whole-body health complications.” When in reality, they added, nicotine replacement therapy (NRTs) have been safely used in the form of patches and gum for over 30 years.

Moreover, they concluded, UK dental professionals should be pointed to the well-considered public health guidance on the topic. The experts highlighted that this guidance actually states that for the best chances of quitting smoking, one should use support and pharmacotherapy, adding “e-cigarettes can be part of that package.”

Context is key

In conclusion, many medical and oral health practitioners, as well as smoking cessation experts insist on the relative benefits of vaping for those smokers who struggle to quit unaided. While no one disputes the fact that non-smokers should not take up vaping, given the proven relative safety of the products, switching from smoking to vaping decreases health risks for smokers and improves their oral health.

Dental Expert Advises Smokers to Switch to E-Cigs to Prevent Oral Cancer


How does vaping affect your oral health? ›

Vaping has a direct effect on oral health.

Exposure to e-cigarette aerosol can lead to more bacteria in the mouth, which is associated with tooth decay, cavities, and gum diseases. It can also cause dry mouth, inflamed gums, and other issues.

What does new research on the effects of vaping and oral health suggest about use? ›

A vaping habit could end up leading to a tarnished smile, and more frequent visits to the dentist. Research by faculty from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine found patients who said they used vaping devices were more likely to have a higher risk of developing cavities.

Why do people who vape have more bacteria in their mouth? ›

The dry oral environment and presence of nicotine, which reduces blood supply and oxygen levels, help create an environment that allows these bacteria to proliferate at an increased rate.”

Does vaping change your mouth? ›

Here are four of the main ones. One of the most common side effects of vaping is a dry mouth. Some humectants in e-cigarettes, like propylene glycol, for example, can cause mouth dryness. Mouth dryness can produce bad breath, mouth sores and even cause tooth decay.

Can Vapes cause mouth disease? ›

Vaping and Gum Disease

With less saliva in your mouth because of the mouth drying effects of vaping, plaque bacteria can multiply and an infection below the gumline can occur. Left untreated, this infection can turn into gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Is VAPE worse than smoking? ›

1: Vaping is less harmful than smoking, but it's still not safe. E-cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings and other chemicals to create an aerosol that you inhale. Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic.

What is the biggest danger of vaping? ›

E-cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless “water vapor.” The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including: Nicotine. Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.

What are the top 5 dangers of vaping? ›

What are the dangers of vaping?
  • Asthma. Vaping can make you more likely to get asthma and other lung conditions. ...
  • Lung scarring. ...
  • Organ damage. ...
  • EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury). ...
  • Addiction. ...
  • Cigarette smoking. ...
  • Second-hand exposure. ...
  • Explosions.
Aug 22, 2022

Does vaping cause inflammation in mouth? ›

Vaping Causes Inflammation

Over time, inflammation leads to diseases of the gums, teeth, and mouth. Some people develop bloody sores in their mouths and very sore throats after vaping. Some dentists have even reported lesions in the mouth that appear to be caused by burns from e-cigarettes.

Is vaping better than smoking for oral health? ›

But did you know that vaping has the same negative effects on your teeth and gums as smoking does? Since e-cigarettes and vaping often doesn't include tobacco, it's often seen as the healthier alternative, but your oral health suffers just the same.

Does vaping stain teeth? ›

Can Vaping Stain Teeth? Much like smoking, vaping can make your teeth yellow. Nicotine in e-cigarettes can cause teeth to become deeply stained.

Can a dentist tell if you vape? ›

What can dentists deduce after a dental check-up? A dentist can't tell if you're vaping or not, but they can tell that you're consuming nicotine, whether through traditional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes. Nicotine leaves yellow and brown stains on teeth after it mixes with our saliva flow.

What is vapor tongue? ›

Vapers tongue is a phrase used to describe not being able to taste vape juice. It is said that most vapers will experience this from time to time. This inconvenience usually lasts for 1-3 days but at worst can last for up to two weeks! Why is it happening?

Can the dentist tell if you vape once? ›

The answer is yes. While some people switch from smoking to vaping because they may think vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, studies show that it is just bad for your teeth and gums. Vaping has the same adverse effects on your oral health as smoking and your dentist WILL be able to tell.

Should you brush your teeth after vaping? ›

After vaping, wait for at least 20 minutes before brushing to prevent enamel erosion. Make sure to floss daily to keep your gums healthy. Check Your Mouth – If you notice dental problems, such as gum bleeding, soreness, persistent bad breath, consult your dentist immediately.

Does vaping cause bone loss in teeth? ›

Vaping can lead to dental decay (aka cavities), bone loss, and inflamed gum tissue, he adds. Deepak Saxena, PhD and associate professor at NYU College of Dentistry, also expresses concern about the effects of vaping on the mouth—specifically inflammation—that can make your mouth even more susceptible to infection.

Can dentists tell if you vape? ›

Yup! A dentist will know if your teen vapes because nicotine smoked in any form negatively impacts oral health, specifically teeth and gums. Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they still contain highly concentrated amounts of nicotine, which can damage the mouth.

Can vaping damage your tongue? ›

Importantly, research has shown that even briefly vaping or smoking can lead to inflammation on the tongue and other areas of the mouth, and inflammation can contribute to a wide range of negative oral health issues. One study even showed that vaping can change tissue on a molecular level.

Is vaping worse for teeth than smoking? ›

One of the biggest ways that smoking damages your oral health is that you are very likely to develop gum disease. Vaping exposes your gums to both nicotine as well as hot and drying vapour which therefore, definitely puts users at a higher risk of gum disease.

Can vaping damage your esophagus? ›

E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other chemicals that may damage the esophagus. They may also cause or worsen the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

How can I vape without damaging my teeth? ›

Is there any way to minimize the side effects?
  1. Limit your nicotine intake. Opting for low-nicotine or nicotine-free juices can help limit the negative effects of nicotine on your teeth and gums.
  2. Drink water after you vape. ...
  3. Brush your teeth twice a day. ...
  4. Floss before bed. ...
  5. Visit a dentist on a regular basis.
Jan 14, 2019

Can dentists see smoking? ›

Smoking impacts your teeth and gums in several ways. These impacts can be quickly identified by your dentist. So, yes, your dentist will know if you smoke. Among the telltale signs include yellow teeth, plaque, receding gums, and more.

Does vaping leave a film in your mouth? ›

What causes this slime cloak to form? Rather than the nicotine or flavoring, it's the ingredients in a vape that lends it that “throat-hit” feeling, to make it reminiscent of a cigarette. The two agents responsible for this effect — and responsible for the slime film — are called propylene glycol and glycerol.

Is Vaper's tongue permanent? ›

Symptoms of vaper's tongue can include a numb tongue, failure to taste your favourite e-liquid flavour or even experiencing an unpleasant taste from your trusted daily vape. Fear not, because vaper's tongue isn't anything to worry about as it's not permanent and there are many, many suggestions on how to cure it!

Does vaping cause mouth ulcers? ›

New studies have found that vaping can cause gum disease, inflammation, loose teeth, cavities, mouth ulcers, and dry mouth. Additional health problems that are caused by vaping include damage to both the heart and lungs.

Is vaping worse than nicotine gum? ›

Vaping gets more nicotine into the blood quicker than nicotine gum, so addresses cravings faster.

Can a dentist tell the difference between smoking and vaping? ›

A dentist can't tell if you're vaping or not, but they can tell that you're consuming nicotine, whether through traditional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes. Nicotine leaves yellow and brown stains on teeth after it mixes with our saliva flow. It can also lead to cavities, bad breath, and serious gum damage.

Does vaping shrink your teeth? ›

Nicotine has been proven to reduce blood flow. If you don't have enough blood flowing through your veins, your gums don't get a healthy amount of nutrients and oxygen. Eventually, vaping causes gum tissue to die, and gums to recede. What you end up with is cavities, tooth sensitivity… and even tooth loss.

What is vaper's mouth? ›

Vapers tongue is a phrase used to describe not being able to taste vape juice. It is said that most vapers will experience this from time to time. This inconvenience usually lasts for 1-3 days but at worst can last for up to two weeks! Why is it happening? Vaping can sometimes cause a dry mouth much like smoking does.

What is vaper's throat? ›

A "throat hit" is the sensation that you feel when you inhale nicotine. The amount of nicotine, as well as the temperature of the vapor, can impact the sensation you may feel as you inhale. If you are not used to smoking, the throat hit may lead to a sore throat.

How do you fix a vaper's mouth? ›

  1. 1-Sucking on a lemon. This citrus burst is intended to help you refresh your taste receptors. ...
  2. 2-Drink more water. ...
  3. 3-Try menthol flavor. ...
  4. 4-Cut back on caffeine and alcohol. ...
  5. 5-Go for unflavored vapes. ...
  6. 6-Use an oral hydration product. ...
  7. 7-Clean your tongue. ...
  8. 8-Stop smoking.
Sep 27, 2022


1. Vaping Risks - What Vaping Can Do to Your Mouth
(Joseph R Nemeth DDS)
2. What Vaping Does to the Body
(Institute of Human Anatomy)
3. Vaping and Oral Health: 5 Things You Should Know
(Massachusetts Dental Society)
4. Vaping & Smoking Can Affect Your Oral Health (Short) - BC Dental Association
(Your Dental Health)
5. Science in Seconds: How vaping temperature affects e-cig toxicity
(American Dental Association (ADA))
6. Vaping: what people are getting wrong
(The Economist)
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