Vaping may increase a person’s risk of cavities and cavities, new preliminary research suggests.

The aerosol e-liquid used in vaporizers can coat your teeth in a sticky, sugary film that promotes the growth of bacteria, like going to bed sucking on a lollipop, said study author Dr. Karina Irusa and professor Comprehensive Care Assistant at Tufts University. School of Dental Medicine.

Adding artificial sweeteners and flavors to sticky spray can create the perfect breeding ground for cavities. «Sugar is what the bacteria feeds on,» Irusa said.

The new study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Dental Associationit is considered preliminary and does not prove that vaping causes cavities.

But because e-cigarette use is so rampant among teens, with 2.5 million teens vaping in the United States alone, the possibility that it could increase the risk of tooth decay in this generation is concerning, experts studying said. vaping in youth.

Aerosol stickiness may be the main culprit.”

Dr. Karina Irusa, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

«We know that young people are vaping 24/7,» said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. «Teenagers have told us, anecdotally, that they wake up in the middle of the night and get hit,» said Halpern-Felsher, who he was not involved in the new study. «They keep their vaping product under their pillow and vape all night.»

Tufts’ research focused primarily on adult patients seeking treatment at the school’s dental clinic. Of 13,216 patients, only 136 said they vaped.

Many patients were already considered to be at high risk for dental caries, based on factors such as diet or other oral health issues.

Among these high-risk patients, e-cigarette users, Irusa found, had a «significantly» higher risk of developing cavities, compared with those who didn’t vape.

The Tufts researchers suggested that people who vape may need specific treatments, such as prescription fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.

Dark areas on the tips of the upper front teeth are an example of vaping-related dental caries, the researchers said.2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Previous research Irusa’s team suggested that cavities associated with e-cigarette use may form in an unusual area: on the tips of the front teeth.

«Those areas are usually not affected because they are easier to clean. They are easier to access,» Irusa said. «I think the stickiness of the spray may be the main culprit.»

«This is exactly what we thought was going to happen,» said Dr. Purnima Kumar, chair of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association.

Kumar was not involved in the new study, but published separate investigation in 2020 that found that e-cigarette use completely and rapidly altered a person’s oral microbiome.

«Within six months of use, these people had changed their oral health profiles at the molecular level,» Kumar said. «There were changes that we would only see after five years of smoking» regular cigarettes.

E-cigarette users had different types of oral bacteria that thrive on heated e-liquid ingredients, such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which add nicotine and sweet flavors to vapes.

«Bacteria are constantly looking for food. You can vape today and your bacteria will continue to feed on your vape for the next 10 hours,» he said.