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Vaping and Teens

The teen years are as much about learning who you are and what you want to be as they are about testing boundaries, especially parental boundaries. One trend that may be testing many parents’ boundaries (and patience) is the vaping trend - and that’s if they even know their teen is doing it. It seems that vaping, or smoking e-cigarettes, is growing in popularity among teens. This dangerous trend may seem safe, or at least safer than traditional smoking, but it’s really not. Here’s why.

Unknown Chemicals

Vaping fluid contains many chemicals. For the most part, we know what those chemicals are: benzyne (found in car exhaust; known to cause leukemia), nicotine and diacetyl (safe when cold, dangerous when heated by e-cigarette device and can cause lung disease). But how much of those chemicals and what other chemicals are present in any given e-cigarette fluid is not always known or regulated.

Thirdhand Smoke

While vaping doesn’t really produce smoke (it produces a steam-like vapor), you can still get second- and thirdhand contamination from the fluid. Worse yet, in addition to breathing in the steam, you can suffer from the effects of thirdhand vaping fluid by physical contact with anything the chemicals land on after vaping. That includes furniture, walls, carpeting and car seats. So if you think you’re protecting the health of kids and pets by vaping instead of smoking, you could be contaminating just as much or even more space.

Oral Health Dangers

In addition to the dangerous chemicals mentioned above, vaping fluid also contains some so-called harmless chemicals that are still very dangerous to your oral health. Chemicals like glycerin, propylene glycol and artificial flavorings all pose no real risk to your overall health, but they do pose a risk to your oral health just like any sweetener would. This means an increased risk of cavities, not to mention bad breath.

Another negative effect of vaping is xerostomia, or dry mouth, which can also increase your risk of cavities by eliminating saliva. Saliva helps neutralize plaque acids that cause cavities.

While there is plentiful evidence that vaping is bad for you and your teen, the extent of just how bad it is for you is currently unknown. That’s because vaping is a relatively new trend, and not enough time has passed or studies have been conducted to determine the long-term effects of vaping. For these reasons, it’s better for you and your family to avoid this potentially dangerous trend.

To learn more about good oral hygiene practices, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Abelar, please call 858-866-9692.

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