A lot of people are wondering if it’s possible for a dentist to tell if you’ve been vaping. The answer is yes, it is possible for dentists to tell if you’ve been vaping by looking at both your mouth and your body. In this article, we will discuss how dentists can tell if you’ve been vaping and what they might do about it.
How Can a Dentist Tell If You Vape?
There are many key indicators of the effects of vaping on one’s oral health and overall health. Even though dentists are experts in oral health, doesn’t mean that they cannot also see signs of vaping on your body. Here are a few common signs that vapers have that a dentist could look for:
How Dentists Tell If You Vape By Looking at Your Mouth
Many studies have been done into how vaping can cause changes to your teeth, gums, and mouth. The following is a summary of what these studies have found:
- Stained Teeth: Nicotine and other chemicals in vaping cartridges can mix with your saliva and create a sticky film on your teeth that can lead to tooth staining. The more you vape, the more likely you are to have stained teeth and the harder it is to get rid of it.
- White Gums: The nicotine in vape acts as a vasoconstrictor, which narrows your blood vessels. This can lead to pale gums, as well as other gum problems such as gum disease. If gum disease is left untreated this can lead to receding gums and bleeding gums.
- Dry Mouth/Teeth: Vaping can lead to dry mouth and dry tooth surfaces. This is because the chemicals in vaping cartridges contain nicotine, which is a known drying agent. That, along with other chemicals in vapes, can lead to an increased risk of cavities and gum disease.
- Bad Breath: People who vape are also more likely to have bad breath. This is because the chemicals in vaping cartridges can break down into smelly compounds that cause bad breath.
- Irritation/Burns in the Mouth: Vaping can also cause irritation and burns in the mouth. This is because the chemicals in vaping cartridges can be irritating to the mucus membranes in the mouth. Specifically, inflammation on the roof of the mouth is the most common.
- Harry Tongue/Black Tongue: Vaping can also cause a condition called “hairy tongue” or black tongue. This is when the tongue looks like it has hair on it and is caused by the build-up of bacteria and dead cells on the tongue. Hairy tongue is harmless but can be unappealing.
- Throat Dryness/Soreness/Coughing: Vaping can also lead to a sore throat, dryness in the throat, and coughing. This is because the chemicals in vaping cartridges can be irritating to the throat. In some cases, people have also reported feeling like they have something stuck in their throat after vaping or even difficulty swallowing.
- Overall Worse Oral Health: Many studies have pointed to how vaping can lead to worse oral health. This is because of the harmful chemicals in vaping cartridges as well as the lack of saliva production when you vape. Some examples include more bacteria in the mouth, more bone loss than usual, more likely to have cracked or broken teeth, higher tooth sensitivity, etc.
How A Dentist Can Tell If You Vape By Looking at Your Body
While looking at your mouth is the most obvious way for a dentist to tell if you’ve been vaping, they can also look for other signs on your body. Here are a few common ones:
- Rapid Breathing: Nicotine is a stimulant and can cause your heart rate to increase and make you feel more alert. This can lead to rapid breathing, which is something that a dentist can easily spot.
- Jitteriness: Nicotine can also cause you to feel jittery, which is another sign that a dentist can look for
- Pale Fingers: As discussed previously, vaping causes vasoconstriction, which narrowing of the blood vessels. This can lead to reduced blood flow in the extremities, the outer parts of your body. This can cause pale fingers, as well as other problems such as cold hands and feet.
What Will A Dentist Do If They Know You Vape?
Although it is very easy for a dentist to tell if you vape, will they do anything about it? They may have a discussion about your vaping habits if they believe that you are having oral health problems as a result of vaping. This could be highly likely as there are many ways in which vaping is bad for your teeth. Most likely, your dentist will recommend that you stop vaping and may even refer you to a specialist.
However, the choice to vape or not to vape is completely up to you. Dentists will always act as advisors and give you all the pros and cons of every action you take. From there, it is up to you to make the decision that you believe is best for yourself. A dentist will not judge you for your choice to vape nor will they try to force you to stop. They also will respect your right to privacy and will not tell anyone else about your vaping habits unless you give them permission to do so.
If you are under the age of 18 and don’t want dentists to tell your parents, a dentist will only tell parents if they believe that the child is not mature enough to provide consent (aka only if they believe the child is unable to make health decisions for themselves).
At the end of the day, dentist-patient relationships are built on trust. So, if you don’t want your dentist to know that you vape, there’s not much they can do about it. However, it is important to be honest with your dentist about your habits so that they can help you take care of your oral health.
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No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.