Smoking damages oral health by staining teeth, weakening enamel, causing gum disease and tooth decay, and elevating the likelihood of mouth, tongue, and throat cancer. Vaping, which has had increasing popularity, especially among young people, as a “healthier” alternative to smoking, raises questions about its safety and potential effects on dental braces or Invisalign.
At Appel Orthodontics, we know the damage vaping can do to your smile and that the idea that vaping is somehow healthier than smoking is misleading. In reality, vaping is just as dangerous for your smile — especially during braces or Invisalign treatment — as smoking. Let’s explore the facts about vaping.
Can Vaping Affect My Braces?
“Vaping” is the inhalation of a vaporized liquid from a device known as a vape pen. This liquid is often flavored and is considered a “healthier” alternative to smoking. You would think that means it’s less dangerous for braces and Invisalign. That’s not the case.
Vaping, like smoking, exposes you to harmful chemicals, including propylene glycol, which is a key component that adds sweetness to the smoke. This sweetness can stick to your enamel, leading to cavities and gum disease. Propylene glycol is a main ingredient in vaping and is also used in antifreeze and plane de-icing solutions.
Vaping solution also contains vegetable glycerine, a sugar alcohol that helps deliver the other chemicals into your body. Being a sugar alcohol, it can settle on the teeth and gums and accelerate tooth and gum decay. Repairing cavities or gum disease can slow your treatment while you recover, making it longer than expected. Because it’s a vapor, it can settle anywhere in your mouth, including around your braces brackets where your toothbrush might night reach.
Nicotine and Other Chemicals
Finally, vaping liquid contains nicotine, which has proven highly addictive. It’s also dangerous to the body. Vaping liquids can also contain dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals used to flavor the smoke. Use of these can cause cancers, including mouth and throat cancers.
The bottom line, vaping is no better for you than smoking and should be avoided, especially during braces treatment.
Does Vaping Stain Braces?
Vaping doesn’t cause much staining on traditional metal braces because they are made from stainless steel. However, if you wear clear braces, repeated vaping can cause discoloration.
The vaping liquid and vapor chemicals can cause your clear ceramic braces to discolor slowly. Unfortunately, there is no way to fix this other than to replace all the brackets, which would be incredibly costly.
Vaping can discolor your teeth, like smoking, by causing yellowing over time. This is especially problematic when wearing braces because the stains do not penetrate under the brackets, resulting in uneven whitening when they are removed. Attempting to whiten your teeth may worsen the appearance. So, avoiding smoking or vaping when you have braces is better.
Vaping With Invisalign
Although vaping is not recommended for braces, it is unsafe with Invisalign. The vapor can stick to and coat your teeth and get under the clear aligners. Vaping can also cause discoloration of the clear aligners, making them less transparent over time.
Removing Invisalign trays while vaping may seem easy but it can interfere with treatment effectiveness. Invisalign must be worn for 22 hours daily, crucial for proper teeth movement. Vaping takes away time, which can extend the treatment and affect outcomes. Constantly removing trays for vaping may compromise results.
Vaping with Invisalign isn’t a good idea. That’s why, as with smoking, we recommend you quit before starting treatment with braces or Invisalign.
Braces and Invisalign Treatment in Philadelphia, PA
Treatment with braces or Invisalign goes much better without complications from smoking or vaping. You have less chance of developing tooth decay or gum disease during your treatment, which can slow treatment significantly. You also won’t damage your clear braces or clear aligners by discoloring them with vaping. If you need help with quitting, talk to us! We can make suggestions to help you before you begin treatment. Schedule an appointment with us, and let us show you how we can help.