Tech Talk With Dr. Cranska

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Modern dentistry is dynamic. Changes to improve patient comfort and quality of care are always being developed. The use of improved dental materials, modern delivery systems, lasers, computer-generated imaging and computer management software systems are just some of the changes.

In upcoming months, I will answer questions on high-technology dentistry. Please direct inquiries to my website at www.cranska.com or email familylaserdentistry@outlook.com.

Vaping and Oral Health Problems

If you are a cigarette or e-cigarette user, you should be concerned about the effects smoking has on your health. E-cigarettes were introduced as a smoking alternative without smoke. E-cigarettes are battery operated, filled with liquids (water, flavorings, glycerin, nicotine and propylene glycol). A heating device turns the liquid into an aerosol (vapor), which you inhale instead of smoke. The technique is referred to as vaping.
Let’s review the effects of vaping on your teeth, gums and oral health.

Q: How can vaping affect oral health and the overall health of the body?

A: E-cigarettes were promoted as a safe alternative to smoking and a tool to help quit. Unfortunately, the toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke were replaced with other harmful chemicals and still contain nicotine. One electric cartridge has the same amount of nicotine as two to three packs of cigarettes. Nicotine is addictive and has been shown to increase heart and artery disease.
The added propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and sweet flavors break down into acids to soften your teeth. Sticky films are created, increasing plaque accumulation and leading to more bacteria, tooth decay, and breakdown of teeth and increased gum disease.
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, decreasing blood flow to the gums. Results are gum recession and periodontal disease.
Another side effect of vaping is chronic dry mouth, which leads to bad breath and a decrease in fighting decay and gum disease.

Q: I’ve never had any cavities or gum problems. Why do I need to worry about vaping?

A: Dentists are seeing patients who were cavity-free their whole lives but who now vape and have rampant tooth decay. It is a cycle of sticky bacterial plaque, tooth breakdown with cavities and softer enamel, dry mouth, drinking more sugary drinks, more acids, on and on.

Q: What should I do to decrease the oral effects of vaping?

A: To limit the intake of nicotine, do not also smoke cigarettes. Also, do the following:
• Drink water after vaping, stop using sugary drinks
• Brush and floss daily
• Maintain good oral health
• Eat a well-balanced diet
• Limit sweet snacks
• Schedule regular dental visits for check-up exams, cleanings and X-rays

There are questions about both the short- and long-term effects of using e-cigarettes. Research is behind in determining the vaping-related effects on overall body and oral health. How can inhaling unknown chemicals not have a negative effect?

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