Did you know that 1 out of 3 high school seniors have tried vaping in the last year? It used to be that smoking was the most common unhealthy behavior that teenagers and young adults engaged in. Then, about a decade ago, vaping became the “new thing” that many young people are tempted to try. But, while many believe it’s harmless, a family dentist in Frisco will tell you that there are consequences, including when it comes to oral health. Learn more below about the impact of vaping and get tips for how to talk to your kids about this important topic.
What Are the Consequences of Vaping On Oral Health?
Since vaping has only been around for a decade or so, researchers don’t know what the long-term effects are yet. However, it’s already known to impact oral health in multiple ways.
First, vaping liquid contains propylene glycol, which is also found in food items such as ice cream and liquid sweeteners. This substance breaks down into acids (e.g. acetic acid, lactic acid) that can lead to dry mouth, which is harmful to both the teeth and soft tissues and greatly increases the risk of cavities, bad breath, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
Also, a second ingredient in vaping liquid called glycerin (which is often combined with flavorings) increases plaque levels in the mouth. And since glycerin is sticky, it also allows cavity-causing bacteria to more easily stick to the teeth. This can lead to rampant tooth decay that requires major dental work to repair.
How Can You Talk To Your Kids About Vaping?
Talking with your kids about vaping is an important first step. Let them know they can talk to you without fear of judgment or punishment and that you simply want to have an open dialogue on the subject. Do some research and explain that vaping is not harmless.While many people believe that vaping isn’t as risky as smoking, a useful analogy that’s often used is that driving 100 miles an hour with a seat belt on is safer than without one, but neither one is actually safe.
You can also ask your family dentist to have a discussion with them at their next checkup, as it’s often helpful to hear from a professional as well. Although there aren’t decades worth of research, dentists have seen the effects of vaping firsthand on their patients’ dental health and are happy to give them the information they need to make good choices.
Vaping may seem like a healthy alternative to smoking, but that simply isn’t true. By understanding the risks and regularly talking to your kids about it, you can help make sure they stay healthy and happy.
About the Author
Dr. Brett Amedro is a family dentist in Frisco and a father of two. As a firm believer in patient education, he often talks to his teenaged patients and their parents about the effects of vaping and other lifestyle choices on their overall and dental health. If you have any questions about talking to your child about vaping, he can be contacted via his website.