Is your breath nice and fresh? If you’re vaping you won’t have to worry about smokers breath, something I’m sure your nearest and dearest are delighted about.
Bad breath is a touchy subject for anyone, but for smokers it’s a cause of constant embarrassment. Chewing gum helps a bit, but not nearly as much as smokers believe it does. The horrible smell of stale smoker’s breath is a problem wherever, and whenever you smoke.
So, why does smoking make your breath so foul?
Tobacco is a pretty nasty substance and, when burned, releases thousands of toxins – many of which are carcinogens – into the mouth. The impact on oral health is horrific. Tobacco smoke is toxic, sticky, heavy, and packed full of nastiness. It not only lingers in the mouth, but when exhaled literally sticks to your clothes, your home and anything else it comes into contact with.
Tobacco smoke reacts with the natural chemicals in your body, creating chemical reactions that lead to your teeth being stained, gum disease and a whole host of other nasty stuff.
The following oral diseases and conditions are caused by, or can be attributed to smoking:1
Staining of teeth and dental fillings;
Reduction of the ability to smell and taste;
Smoker’s palate, where the palate becomes white and a number of little spots project from the surface, each bearing a small red spot at the centre that marks the opening of the duct of the gland;
Smoker’s melanosis, which is associated with cigarette and pipe smoking, and is seen as brown spots inside the mouth;
Coated tongue, which is the condition where there is a coloured layer composed of mainly food particles, bacteria, and debris from epithelium in the mouth;
Oral thrush, which is a type of fungal infection that occurs in the mouth;
The failure of dental implants; and/or
Oral precancer and cancer.
These lesions most likely result from the:
Irritants, and toxic and cancer-causing compounds found in the smoke;
Dryness in the mouth following high temperatures of inhaling smoke;
Change in immune response; and/or
Change in ability to handle viral and fungal infections.
Smoking doesn’t just stink, it’s creates a ticking timebomb of oral health issues. We’ve all seen the pictures, it isn’t pretty.
Why doesn’t vaping give you bad breath?
There are two reasons. E-liquids are heated, not burned, which is the main reason vapour doesn’t affect your breath and body in the same way as tobacco smoke. In addition, e-liquids typically only contain 4 ingredients as opposed to over 600 ingredients in a cigarette. It stands to reason that with fewer ingredients, you’ll encounter fewer issues. Smoke also has a very different composition to the aerosol cloud produced by vaping.
The vapour cloud contains only a few chemicals, but at levels hundreds of times lower than smoke. This coupled with the very short life of vapour means it isn’t having the same affect on you or your surroundings. In fact, the combination of the small levels of toxins and the short ‘life’ of vapour makes it almost impossible to measure.
To date we have not found any medical studies relating bad breath to vaping, but anecdotally vapers tell us their breath is massively improved since switching to vaping.
That said, some people are very sensitive to Nicotine, which is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your blood vessels. Without enough blood flow, the gums might not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Long story short, sufficient quantities of Nicotine could give you ‘dry mouth’ which in turn could lead to bad breath. To be clear, this is pretty rare.
For the vast majority of people switching to vaping means that the foul toxins deposited while smoking tobacco are not present, and as such the impact on oral health is drastically reduced when vaping.
- McNeill, A. et al. Evidence review of e- cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018. A report commissioned by Public Health England (2018).
- McNeill, A. et al. Evidence update. A report commissioned by Public Health England (2019).