Crystal Lake, IL Dentist
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Crystal Lake, IL 60014

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Posts for tag: Nicotine

E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, although they do contain nicotine derived from the tobacco plant.  

Studies have shown that nicotine — whether delivered via traditional cigarette or other means — does harm to the mouth, gums and tongue.

Nicotine may contribute significantly to the development of gingivitis and periodontitis, which can cause bad breath and inflammation throughout the body.

Here’s how nicotine can impact your oral health:

Nicotine Causes Gum Recession

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins.

Without sufficient blood flow, the gums do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Nicotine chokes tissues in the mouth from the blood it needs to survive, causing death of the gum tissues.

Nicotine Masks Symptoms of Gum Disease

“Almost two years vaping and my gum disease has dramatically improved.”

“I just got back from the dentist and he said my gum health has actually improved since I started using e-cigarettes.”

You might see reports like these in a lot of online forums.

That’s because nicotine can hide the symptoms of gum disease from your dentist, making it harder to be diagnosed.

When you have gum disease, it’s the increased blood flow to the gums that tips you off or tips off your dentist to the fact that you have gum disease. The gums are irritated and swell with blood, and when you floss or even brush, they bleed.

This fools everyone — both the dentist and yourself — into thinking that things are going well in your mouth.

If the progression of gum disease can’t be observed or diagnosed, then things go south without treatment.

Even longterm chewing of nicotine gum can cause these problems.

Nicotine Causes Bad Breath

As a vasoconstrictor, nicotine also inhibits your body’s ability to produce saliva. Not enough saliva can leave you susceptible to bacteria buildup, dry mouth, and tooth decay.

Nicotine Intensifies Grinding

Nicotine is also a stimulant that fires up the muscles, making you grind your teeth more intensely if you’re already a grinder — and might even prompt you to start grinding your teeth even if you weren’t a grinder before.


If you’re thinking about using e-cigarettes or you already use them, you’ve got to watch out for the signs of gum disease.

But how are you going to watch out for the tell-tale sign of gum disease — bleeding gums — if nicotine masks bleeding gums via vasoconstriction?

Since nicotine masks the symptoms of gum disease from both you and your dentist, you’ll have to be extra vigilant about gum disease prevention.

To diagnose gum disease, as well as measure its progression, your dentist will take something called a pocket reading.

“Pockets” are like the “moat” around each of your teeth, which is naturally present. It’s the space between the gum line (where you see your gums and teeth meet when you look in the mirror) and where the tooth and gum attach a little further down (see the illustration below). Deeper pockets indicate a breakdown of the attachment of the gums to the teeth.

Visit your dentist every three months to monitor your pocket readings. Your likelihood of having gum disease is greater as long as you’re using nicotine and because nicotine masks the tell-tale signs, a frequency of every three months is necessary in order to prevent tooth loss, bone loss, and gum recession.

The best and most convenient option here, and I know it’s hard to hear, is to eliminate the nicotine habit.