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In recent years, the use of vaping devices has surged, especially among American adults and teenagers, with over 9.1 million adults and 2 million teenagers reportedly using tobacco-based vaping products. However, a groundbreaking study conducted by the faculty from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine has shed light on a concerning association between vaping and dental health. The implications of this study go beyond the commonly recognized risks of vaping, such as lung diseases, and delve into the realm of oral health, particularly the risk of developing cavities.

Vaping and dental health: unveiling the hidden risks

The Startling Discovery

The research conducted at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine unearthed a disconcerting link between vaping and an increased risk of cavities. Patients who admitted to using vaping devices were found to be more susceptible to developing dental caries, commonly known as cavities. This revelation underscores the potential harm of a habit that was once thought to be relatively innocuous.

Understanding the Scope

The study’s lead author, Karina Irusa, an assistant professor of comprehensive care, emphasizes the gravity of this discovery. While public awareness has grown regarding the dangers of vaping on systemic health, including lung diseases, dental health has often been overlooked in the discourse. Irusa stresses that the recent findings might just be the tip of the iceberg, as the full extent of vaping’s impact on dental decay remains relatively uncharted.

The Study Details

The study, published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, marks a pioneering effort in investigating the connection between vaping and cavities. The researchers analyzed data from a substantial sample of more than 13,000 patients aged 16 and above who had sought treatment at Tufts dental clinics between 2019 and 2022. Although the majority of patients did not use vaping devices, a significant difference in the risk of dental caries was observed between the vaping group and the control group.

Vaping and Dental Caries Risk

The findings revealed a compelling statistic: approximately 79% of patients who used vaping devices were classified as having a high risk of dental caries, as opposed to around 60% in the control group. Notably, the study did not differentiate between nicotine-containing and THC-containing devices, although nicotine-based products were more prevalent. Irusa cautions that while these results are not conclusively definitive, they highlight a noteworthy trend that merits attention.

Unraveling the Mechanism

The potential mechanism behind the increased risk of cavities due to vaping lies in the nature of vaping liquids. The sugary content and viscosity of the vaping liquid, when aerosolized and inhaled, can adhere to the teeth, similar to the properties of sweet-flavored candies and acidic beverages. Furthermore, vaping aerosols can alter the oral microbiome, creating an environment conducive to decay-causing bacteria. Intriguingly, vaping appears to trigger decay even in areas where it is not commonly observed, such as the lower edges of front teeth.

Vaping and dental health: unveiling the hidden risks

Implications for Dental Practice

The implications of this study extend to the realm of dental practice. The researchers at Tufts University recommend that dentists routinely inquire about e-cigarette and vaping device usage as part of a patient’s medical history. This is particularly crucial for pediatric dentists, as statistics from the FDA/CDC suggest that a notable percentage of middle- and high-school students reported e-cigarette use.

Rethinking Caries Management

For individuals who do use e-cigarettes, the study proposes a more rigorous caries management protocol. This includes interventions such as prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste and rinse, in-office fluoride applications, and more frequent checkups. The reasoning behind this approach lies in the long-term nature of managing dental caries once it sets in. Irusa explains that even with fillings, continued vaping sustains the risk of secondary caries, creating a cyclic dilemma.

The Road Ahead

In conclusion, the groundbreaking research conducted at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine has cast a spotlight on the potential hazards of vaping for oral health. The study’s findings suggest a significant correlation between vaping and an elevated risk of developing cavities, underscoring the need for heightened awareness among both patients and dental professionals. While further research is required to fully comprehend the extent of vaping’s impact on oral health, the current study serves as a crucial starting point for a broader exploration into this often underestimated facet of vaping’s consequences.

Vaping and dental health: unveiling the hidden risks

In the realm of oral health, the revelation of vaping’s potential to damage dental health necessitates a reevaluation of its perceived harmlessness. The study’s insights indicate that while vaping’s broader health impacts are known, its specific effects on oral health are often overlooked. The significance of these findings calls for continued research and a comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between vaping and dental well-being.


  1. Science Daily – Using vapes may set the stage for dental decay.
  2. The Journal of American Dental Association – A comparison of the caries risk between patients who use vapes or electronic cigarettes and those who do not.
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Curatorial Yurij
Curatorial Yurij
Head of Content at Uniqa Dental As an expert in dental industry, my task is to tell in a simple and fascinating way about complex highly organized series of procedures for the benefit of practitioners.