Study Links Vaping to Increased Risk of Cavities

New research suggests that the use of vaping products may increase the risk of dental caries.

The study by Tufts University School of Dental Medicine researchers, which was published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, analyzed data from more than 13,216 patients older than 16 who were treated at Tufts dental clinics from 2019-2022.

Of those, the vast majority — 13,080 (99.3% ) — said they did not use e-cigarettes or vapes, and 136 (0.69%) reported using these products.

Researchers found that some 79% of the vaping patients were categorized as having high caries risk, compared to about 60% of the patients not using e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette use may increase the risk of cavities due to the sugary content and viscosity of vaping liquid, which sticks to the teeth when aerosolized and inhaled through the mouth.

Vaping aerosols also change the oral microbiome making it more hospitable to decay-causing bacteria. In addition, vaping seems to encourage decay in areas where it usually doesn’t occur—such as the bottom edges of front teeth.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students reported smoking e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Of those, more than one in four (27.6%) used them daily.

Previous research indicated that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes because vaping products do not contain tobacco or involve combustion.

However, two recent studies suggest that long-term use of electronic cigarettes can impair the function of the blood vessels, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease.

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