Updated on March 6, 2024
6 min read

Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?

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Key Takeaways

  • Your dentist can tell if you vape or smoke from obvious signs during an oral exam.
  • Long-term vaping negatively impacts oral health, including increased tooth decay, gum disease, and teeth staining.
  • You should always be honest with your dentist about whether you smoke or vape.
  • If you’re concerned about the impacts vaping has on your oral health, your best option is to quit.
  • If you aren’t ready to quit vaping, see your dentist regularly and practice diligent oral hygiene at home.
  • Remember that oral health conditions can worsen over time and make you more likely to develop issues with your overall health.

Is Vaping Bad for Your Oral Health?

Yes, vaping is bad for your oral health. While vapes typically contain less nicotine than cigarettes, they can still severely affect your teeth, gums, and oral soft tissues. 

3d render of lower jaw with tooth extracted by dental forceps

Studies have linked vaping to oral health conditions, including:

Nicotine can restrict blood flow to the gums, reduce saliva production, and encourage bacterial growth. In rarer cases, it can burn the interior of your mouth or cause sores.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is an alternative way to consume tobacco or marijuana. 

A vape is an electronic device that heats and turns a liquid into a vapor (or aerosol), which the user then inhales. Common devices include e-cigarettes (like JUUL), pens, or hookahs. The liquid used in vape devices typically contains nicotine or marijuana.

Many people use vaping as a way to quit smoking cigarettes. Others see it as a healthier alternative. It’s very common among teenagers and young adults. In a 2022 survey, 2.5 million middle and high school students in the United States reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.1

However, vaping is just as unsafe for your overall health, as well as your oral health. It can be especially detrimental for young people to vape, as their bodies are still developing.

How Does Vaping Affect Your Teeth? 

Vaping can have many negative consequences on your teeth. It can lead to:

Bacterial Growth

A 2018 study revealed that the crevices and pits of teeth exposed to e-cigarette aerosol contained higher amounts of bacteria than unexposed teeth.

Too much bacteria in the teeth has been associated with a higher risk of gum disease, cavities, and toothaches

Tooth Discoloration

Vaping devices contain nicotine, which may stain the teeth. This happens because the enamel, or the hard outer surface of the teeth, is porous. When you vape, the nicotine gets trapped inside the pores of your enamel, causing staining and discoloration.

Brown Stain on the lower part of teeth and borderline of the gums due to dental problems

Tooth discoloration can be yellow, brown, or black. It depends on the type of e-juice you use.

Teeth Grinding

Nicotine acts as a stimulant. When it stimulates jaw muscles to contract, it may make you grind your teeth even when asleep. This is a condition called bruxism.

Bruxism can lead to tooth damage if left untreated.

How Does Vaping Affect Your Gums?

Vaping also affects the gum tissue, causing:


A 2016 study showed e-cigarettes could trigger inflammatory responses in the gum tissues.3 Chronic gum inflammation has been linked to periodontal issues, such as receding gums and infections.

Gingivitis inflammation of the gums dental 3D illustration

DNA Damage

Vaping aerosols increase inflammation and cause DNA damage in the living cells of the gums.4 Damage to cells prevents them from growing and dividing, speeding up cell aging and leading to cell death.

DNA damage plays an important role in oral health, causing problems such as:

  • Bad breath or halitosis
  • Dry mouth
  • Gum disease or periodontal disease/bone loss
  • Tooth decay and loss

Decreased Blood Flow

Nicotine acts as a vasoconstrictor, reducing blood circulation to your gum tissue. Studies show that restricted blood flow from vaping can lead to severe periodontal disease.5

Common consequences of progressive periodontal disease include deeper gum pockets, attachment and alveolar bone loss, and tooth loss.

Other Oral Health Effects of Vaping

Beyond the direct impacts on your teeth and gums, vaping can also affect other aspects of your oral health:

Dry Mouth

Nicotine and propylene glycol are both found in vaping liquid. They reduce saliva flow inside the mouth by absorbing moisture and drying tooth surfaces and tissues. 

A reduction in saliva flow causes dry mouth, which leads to the accumulation of plaque/bacteria. Eventually, this buildup can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Mouth Burns

Although less common, vaping can lead to mouth burns because the lithium batteries can overheat and explode.


Vaping causes cell damage. When the mouth’s lining and the palate become inflamed, it can cause painful mouth sores and oral lesions (stomatitis).

Oral Cancer

The DNA damage caused by e-cigarettes can lead to oral cancer. A 2019 study showed the increased possibility of e-cigarette users developing lung, oral, and bladder cancer.4

Breathing Conditions

Vaping also increases the risk of lung injury, COPD, asthma, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease.6 

What’s Worse for Your Teeth: Vaping or Smoking Cigarettes?

Vaping and smoking cigarettes are equally bad for your teeth. While e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, the nicotine and other ingredients in vaping juice are just as harmful.

Your dentist can tell if you smoke or vape since the outcomes on your oral health are the same. 

How Can a Dentist Tell If I Vape?

A dentist who examines your mouth may be able to tell if you vape from the following signs:

  • Bad breath
  • Stains or discoloration on your teeth 
  • Cavities
  • Presence of gum disease or inflammation
  • Dry mouth
  • Burns or sores

Most of the consequences of vaping on your teeth, gums, and mouth are visible in a dental exam, so you won’t be able to lie to your dentist about vaping.

How to Prevent Oral Health Damage From Vaping

People who choose to vape should be aware of the physical and oral health risks. 

To help lessen the dangers of vaping, do the following:

  • Choose vape juice without nicotine
  • Drink a lot of water to prevent dry mouth
  • Maintain good oral health by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every night 
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups

Tips for Quitting Vaping or Smoking

The best way to prevent oral health issues is to quit vaping. The following are helpful tips for people who want to quit vaping or smoking:

  • Stay away from triggers Avoid places, people, and situations that tempt you to vape or smoke.
  • Distract yourself Do things that take your mind off of vaping or smoking.
  • Try nicotine therapy — A nicotine patch or a nicotine gum can help reduce nicotine cravings.
  • Find motivation — Find something that motivates you to quit vaping or smoking.
  • Ask for help — Tell your family and friends about your intent to stop vaping or smoking. Voicing it out loud can help you stick to your commitment.

Last updated on March 6, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on March 6, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey.” U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2022.
  2. Kim, S., et al. “Cariogenic potential of sweet flavors in electronic-cigarette liquids.” PLoS One, 2018.
  3. Sundar, I., et al. “E-cigarettes and flavorings induce inflammatory and pro-senescence responses in oral epithelial cells and periodontal fibroblasts.” Oncotarget, National Library of Medicine, 2016.
  4. Tommasi, S., et al. “Deregulation of Biologically Significant Genes and Associated Molecular Pathways in the Oral Epithelium of Electronic Cigarette Users.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, MDPI, 2019.
  5. Malhotra, R., et al. “Nicotine and periodontal tissues.” Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, National Library of Medicine, 2010.
  6. The Impact of E-Cigarettes on the Lung.” American Lung Association, 2022.
  7. Newport, Frank. “Young People Adopt Vaping as Their Smoking Rate Plummets.” GALLUP.
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