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Does Vaping Cause Gum Disease?

If you’ve been told you have gum disease and you’re trying to stop smoking you may be wondering if e-cigarettes or vaping can cause gum disease as well. Unfortunately, whilst vaping is less harmful to your oral and general health than smoking, it’s still not safe and some studies have identified various health risks associated with vaping, including potential harm to general and oral health. 

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Can Vaping Cause Gum Disease?

Yes, vapes and e-cigarettes can cause gum disease. Unfortunately whilst they are prompted as being better for health than cigarettes they are still bad for the gums, teeth and mouth. We explain why vapes cause gum disease below.

How Does Vaping Cause Gum Disease?

There are many chemicals found in vape liquid including propylene glycol, nicotine, flavorings and colorings. These chemicals have a number of negative effects on the mouth that might contribute to the development and progression of gum disease. 

Here’s how vaping can adversely affect your oral health.

Dry Mouth

The propylene glycol and other chemicals found in vape liquids can lead to a dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. This can cause several problems which include reduced saliva production, weakened defences, inflammation and irritation which can all increase the risk of gum disease.

Saliva plays a critical role in maintaining oral health by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria and helping to wash away food particles and debris.  With a decrease in saliva caused by vaping, the mouth’s natural defence mechanism is weakened.  

A dry mouth can also cause irritation and inflammation of the gum tissues, which might exacerbate existing gum problems or contribute to the development of gum disease.

Reduced Blood Flow

Vaping liquids often contain nicotine. This substance restricts blood flow to the gums, denying them the essential nutrients and oxygen they require for optimal health. This compromised blood flow not only exacerbates existing gum issues but can potentially accelerate the onset of gum disease by weakening the natural defences of the gum tissues.

The reduced blood flow also reduces the signs of gum disease like bleeding and inflammation, thereby masking the symptoms and delaying necessary treatment. 

Increased Bacteria and Altered Microme

The dry mouth caused by the various chemicals in vape juice creates an environment where bacteria can flourish. The bacteria can accumulate and form plaque, which, if not adequately removed, can lead to gum inflammation and eventually gum disease.

Also, a recent study, by researchers at NYU College of Dentistry found that people who use e-cigarettes have a different mix of bacteria in their mouths compared to people who smoke regular cigarettes and those who don’t smoke at all. Interestingly, the types of bacteria in the mouths of e-cigarette users were more similar to those found in smokers rather than non-smokers.  The bacteria found in vapers have been linked with gum disease. The researchers highlighted that using e-cigarettes does affect the kinds of bacteria in the mouth and potentially poses its own set of risks to oral health, somewhat resembling the effects of smoking regular cigarettes but with unique characteristics.

Altered Inflammatory Response and Impaired Immune Function

Certain chemicals in vape liquids can cause an inflammatory response in the gum tissues, potentially increasing the risk of gum disease.

Researchers in the same study mentioned above found that the unique set of bacteria found in the mouths of vapers shifts the body’s defence system against diseases. Specifically, vaping is connected to varying amounts of certain proteins (called cytokines) that control the immune system. Some of these proteins are involved in the imbalance of mouth bacteria and can make gum disease worse by making individuals more susceptible to swelling and infections.

One of these proteins that cause swelling was found to be significantly higher in e-cigarette users. Meanwhile, two other proteins were found to be lower; one of them usually decreases in individuals with gum disease and goes up after getting treatment. This suggests that specific bacteria in the mouths of those who vape might be actively weakening the body’s defence responses.

Here’s More About The Chemicals Contained In Vape Liquid And There Effects 

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol, a common ingredient in vape liquids, is known for its hygroscopic properties, which means it can absorb water molecules from its surroundings. When inhaled, it can potentially lead to a dry mouth by reducing the moisture content in the oral cavity. As we read above this dry environment poses several problems. 


Nicotine, found in both tobacco products and e-cigarettes (even vape liquid labelled as nicotine-free may still contain some nicotine (ref)), as well as the negative effects described above, is considered harmful primarily because it is highly addictive, which can lead to a habit that is hard to quit.

Other Potential Ingredients

Apart from propylene glycol and nicotine, vape liquids often contain other components like flavorings and colorings. These additives can create an acidic environment in the mouth, promoting the growth of bacteria and plaque. Moreover, some studies suggest that these chemicals can cause inflammation of the gums, which can lead to gum disease when not treated.

Other Potential Oral Health Issues Caused by Vaping

As well as gum disease, studies have shown that vaping significantly increases the risk of various oral health problems including 

  • Cavities – Bacterial growth, reduced saliva production and impaired immune response can all contribute to an increased risk of cavities, including gumline cavities.
  • Teeth staining – primarily from the nicotine and coloring agents in e-liquids. 
  • There is a growing concern that vaping might increase the risk of mouth cancer
  • Exacerbation of gum recession
  • Enamel weakening – Vaping can induce enamel weakening as the harmful chemicals in the vapor can erode the protective layer on teeth over time.
  • Oral irritation – making individuals more prone to infections and other dental issues. 
  • Bad breath Vaping can lead to bad breath due to the growth of bacteria fostered by the dry mouth condition it often causes.
  • Tooth grinding – this may result in tooth abfractions. Furthermore, teeth grinding, can further irritate the gums, leading to a vicious cycle of worsening gum health.

Will My Gums Get Better If I Stop Vaping?

Yes, if you stop vaping your gum health will improve. Whilst studies are limited it is thought that just like in those who quit smoking, those who quit vaping will have the same risk of developing gum disease and will respond to treatment as non-smokers.

When you stop vaping, you will reduce your exposure to chemicals and nicotine. This will lead to an improved immune response, better oral hygiene, promote healing and prevent the progression of gum disease.

However, quitting vaping alone might not be enough to fully address gum disease.

How To Get Rid Of Gum Disease From Vaping?

The first thing you should do is to try and stop vaping. But as we just mentioned this might not be enough to eliminate the gu, disease caused by vapes.

You should also maintain good oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day, cleaning the interdental spaces daily, and getting regular dental check-ups. 

Most importantly, schedule an appointment with a dentist for a thorough examination and professional guidance on managing and reversing the effects of gum disease. Adopting a proactive approach can prevent further deterioration and help preserve your oral health.

If you don’t have access to a dentist or want to treat it at home without a dentist we have lots of useful information on this topic over on our home page

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