A vaping habit could lead to a tarnished smile, and more frequent dentist visits. Research by Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston found patients who said they used vaping devices were more likely to have a higher risk of developing cavities (caries).
The findings of this study serve as an alert that this once seemingly harmless habit may be very detrimental, says Karina Irusa, assistant professor of comprehensive care and lead author on the paper. The study was published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Over the last few years, public awareness has increased about the dangers of vaping to systemic health — particularly after the use of vaping devices was tied to lung disease. Some dental research has shown ties between e-cigarette use and increased markers for gum disease, and separately, damage to tooth enamel.
Irusa says that the recent Tufts finding may be just a hint of the damage vaping causes to the mouth. “The extent of the effects on dental health, specifically on dental decay, are still relatively unknown,” she says, “At this point, I’m just trying to raise awareness”.
Irusa and her colleagues analysed data from more than 13,000 patients older than 16 who were treated at Tufts dental clinics from 2019-2022. There was a statistically significant difference in dental cavity risk levels between the e-cigarette/vaping group and the control group, Irusa found. Some 79% of the vaping patients were categorised as having high-caries risk, compared to just about 60% of the control group.