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What E-Cigarettes Do to Your Tooth's Surface

By Shelby Tatomir on January 20, 2020 in Healthy Living


The ADA reports that the harmful effects of e-cigarettes now includes causing cavities.

News around the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and “vaping” is growing. In addition to damaging the lungs and heart, electronic cigarette smoking has also been found to increase the risk of dental cavities. The side effects of e-cigarette liquid now include damaging the teeth, much like sticky candies and sodas do.

Kids Are at Risk

What was initially intended to assist older people in quitting smoking is now attracting a growing number of teens who were not smoking before. More than 20 percent of high school students report using e-cigarettes on a regular basis, almost twice what was reported in 2017. E-cigarettes are the most used tobacco product for middle school- and high-school kids in the US. Social media campaigns and product placement were a few of the ways kids were being introduced to e-cigarettes, which prompted bans on influencer posts from services such as Instagram.

Furthermore, a spate of vaping-related illnesses and deaths across the country provoked federal governments and agencies into intervening. First, congress approved a law increasing the age required to buy e-cigarettes and tobacco from 18 to 21. Then the FDA banned mint- and fruit-flavored electronic products in an effort to eliminate some of the e-cig appeal.

Children are already at a higher risk of developing cavities. The FDA Commissioner stated that “[youth e-cigarette prevention] may be the most important thing I can accomplish in my role as the agency’s Commissioner.” Discussing the risks of smoking and the harmful effects of e-cigarettes with your teen can make a difference. This pamphlet from the FDA will help you prepare before discussing e-cigarettes with your kid.

Side Effects of E-Cigarette Liquid

Researchers found 2 reasons for their cavity-causing nature. According to the lead on the study, Jeffrey Kim, D.D.S., Ph.D., the viscosity, or gumminess, of the e-liquid, and the chemicals that make up the fluid both can cause cavities. It seems only natural that inhaling chemicals at varying doses will hurt your oral health, but e-cigarettes come with a host of other health concerns as well.

More Harmful Effects of E-Cigarettes

The ADA states that “e-cigarettes [impact] on human health goes beyond respiratory and cardiac systems and may have significant implications on oral health.” Researchers found that the aerosol in e-liquid increased bacteria on the enamel by 4 times!

There are also negative repercussions that go beyond the teeth. Multiple reports have come out about the risk of e-cigarettes exploding. One 18-year-old male was using his e-cigarette before giving a presentation when it exploded. He was left with burns in the mouth and the stomach, and lacerations in the mouth from the device.

Another individual, a 23-year old male, experienced injuries and burns on his face, hand, and chest after his e-cigarette exploded. A scan of his oral cavity revealed “fractures of his hard palate and nasal septum, and dislocation of the adjacent teeth.” The soft palate and front teeth receive extensive damage when an explosion like this occurs. Due to their unregulated nature, researchers don’t consider them a safe alternative to cigarette smoking.

Additionally, 2,602 people have developed vaping-related lung injuries, and 57 fatalities have been reported, due to what public health officials believe to be “vitamin E acetate, a sticky compound found in some THC vaping products.

How to Quit

In 2016, the US Surgeon General “declared use of e-cigarettes by young people a ‘major public health concern.” With awareness around the harmful effects of e-cigarettes increasing, more resources are available to help those affected. If you’re a concerned adult looking to improve the health of your family, community, or self when it comes to e-cigarettes, review this free, easy-to-read, illustrated booklet from the Surgeon General’s office.

If you or someone you love needs more resources on how to quit smoking, check out Tips From Former Smokers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As their use becomes more widespread, stories around how unsafe e-cigarettes are begin to multiply. Stop a bad habit in its tracks and spread your awareness about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and the damaging side effects of e-cigarette liquid.

For more on the impact of e-cigarettes and vaping, check out:
Vaping and Dental Surgery