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Can Dentists Tell if You Vape?

August 17, 2023

It's well known that traditional smoking can adversely affect oral hygiene. But what about vaping?

Take it from dentists: if they can tell that you're vaping, then your vape is undoubtedly having an effect on your oral hygiene. Here's everything you need to know about vaping and your teeth.

How Your Dentist Can Tell You Vape

When it comes to cigarettes, two substances damage your teeth: tobacco and nicotine. While disposable vapes generally contain no tobacco, they do contain nicotine. 

The effects caused by disposable vapes vary depending on your usage and habits, what kind of vapes you use, and more. Your dentist will be able to tell if you've developed a condition such as gum disease, as the signs of gum disease are easy to see, from swollen, sore, and bleeding gums to gum recession.

Other signs they'll look for include:

  • Bad Breath: The gingivitis and gum disease vaping can cause a side effect of bad breath.
  • Dry Mouth: Inhaling hot smoke dries our mouths out, leading to itchiness and further bad breath.
  • Teeth Staining: Smoke inhalation can also stain and yellow teeth, which is immediately noticeable.

What Do Vapes Do to Your Teeth?

A cluster of factors influence the effects vaping has on teeth. A 2018 study by Shin Ae Kim, Samuel Smith, et al. found that the propylene glycol used in vape juice that makes it sweet can have a negative impact on teeth.

Vaping can also cause dry mouth, inflamed gums, irritation, and even cell death, according to a 2018 study by Kathleen Stratton, Leslie Y. Kwan, and David L. Eaton of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

The reasons for these effects also vary, from the way hot vapour dries out the mouth, to the effect of sugars in vape juice, to the presence of nicotine.

Is Vaping Better for Your Teeth Than Smoking?

Plenty of studies have shown how bad traditional smoking is for your teeth. Smoking can cause a range of adverse side effects, from gum disease to yellowing teeth to total tooth loss.

Research has suggested that vaping nicotine can be easier on your system than traditional smoking. Medical News Today reported that since the removal of vitamin E acetate from most vaping products, they’ve become safer to use and better on your teeth than smoking.

How To Maintain Good Oral Hygiene When Vaping

However good or not good vaping is for your teeth, there's a lot you can do to maintain good oral hygiene. These tips will help protect you from sugars, carcinogens, and plaque builders of all types, whether they're coming from a vape or elsewhere.

Brushing Your Teeth Regularly

The most obvious step you can take to maintain good oral hygiene is to brush regularly. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day, two minutes per session. 

When you brush, make circular motions, and don't press too hard. Pressing hard won't remove any more plaque than pressing lightly, and in fact, it can damage your gums. Don't leave any corner of your teeth unbrushed; you can even brush your tongue.


Research shows that flossing has been linked to a wide variety of oral health benefits, including combating bad breath, removing plaque from below the gum line, reducing cavity risk, and fighting tartar buildup. 

If you want to stay on top of your oral hygiene, you have to start flossing regularly. It's unnecessary to floss twice a day, especially if you don't eat anything between your bedtime and morning brushes. But you can carry floss around with you to get pesky crumbs out from between your teeth throughout the day.

Using Mouthwash

Mouthwash is another essential tool in the fight against poor oral hygiene. After you brush and floss, rinse your mouth with a generous gulp of mouthwash, but don't swallow! It will leave your teeth sparklingly clean but isn't good to ingest. 

Mouthwash will pick up the remaining bits of food and other particles and dissolve them before they can begin to damage your teeth.

Limit Sugar Intake

The fight for healthy teeth begins long before you ever take a brush to your mouth. Limiting your sugar intake goes a long way in protecting your gums and teeth against tartar, plaque, and buildup. This is especially when it comes to artificial sugars, which have a markedly higher incidence of gum damage.

Drink Lots of Water

Water is a primary dietary source of fluoride, and fluoride is excellent for our teeth. Water also replenishes our electrolytes, hydrates us, and allows our gums to cycle through fluids so that they stay in healthy, working condition. That's why water is so essential for oral hygiene.

Hydration also helps keeps bad breath at a minimum. If you notice you have persistent bad breath, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dentists Tell If You've Had Nicotine?

Dentists can almost always tell if you've had nicotine. Nicotine stains teeth yellows them, can recede gums, cause them to bleed, and cause gum disease, which has even worse symptoms. Nicotine intake will negatively impact your oral hygiene.

How Long Do You Have to Vape for It To Affect Your Teeth?

There's no specific date you can put on vape use regarding when your teeth will start showing signs of wear and tear. When damage shows depends on how often you vape, what kind of vape you use, and so much more. It's not something you can date from the first time you use a vape, as everyone's habits are different.

Final Thoughts

If you're concerned about your oral hygiene, there's a lot you can do to prevent gum disease and plaque buildup. And if you're interested in learning about different kinds of disposable vapes, how much nicotine they use, and how they might affect your teeth, check out WAKA Vape's entire line of vapes.

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