Electronic Cigarettes and Your Oral Health

May 21, 2018

smoking an e cigUsing electronic cigarettes, or vaping, is extremely popular. The habit has long been touted as a healthier alternative to using other tobacco products, but that doesn’t make it harmless.

In May 2018, e-cigs had some bad press when USA Today reported that in the past 5 years, more than 8,000 children aged 6 or younger have mistakenly drank liquid nicotine. Since nicotine cartridges are colorful, often marketed using cartoon characters, and sometimes resemble candy and cookie packaging, it has been suggested that e-cig companies are targeting children.

While e-cigs don’t give off cancer-causing tar, they do contain dangerous chemicals and nicotine, which can affect your oral health.

Are E-Cigs Safer Than Other Tobacco Products?

While found in lower levels in e-cigarette vapor than in traditional cigarettes, several studies have found toxins in e-cigs. These include:

lungs
  • Diethylene Glycol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Chromium
  • Nickel
  • Nitrosamines

According to the FDA, many of these ingredients are carcinogenic including diethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze. However, it is true that E-cigarettes do not produce tar, a dangerous component of traditional cigarettes.

What About Oral Health Effects?

While tar is the main cause of cigarette-related lung issues, nicotine, which is present in e-cigs, is a major component in oral health complications from smoking.

No matter the source, nicotine can result in oral health complications. This chemical reduces blood flow, which restricts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your soft tissue, like your cheeks and gums.

This can result in:

  • Bad Breath
  • Dry Mouth
  • Swelling Gums
  • Gum Disease
  • Tooth Decay
  • Irritated Gums
  • Loss of Teeth
  • Gum Tissue Rescission

Bottom Line

It is important to keep in mind that there are many things we don’t know about e-cigs, since they are still being heavily researched. But, right now it is reasonable to say that using e-cigarettes could be safer than using traditional tobacco.

Users of e-cigs need to understand the risks, including risks to oral health. If you’re going to use e-cigs, make sure to take extra care of your teeth and gums. This means flossing daily, brushing twice a day, avoiding sugary and high-carb foods, and visiting the dentist twice a year for check-ups.

While it may be safer than traditional cigarettes, e-cigs still come with a laundry list of dangers. Non-smokers should avoid being lured in by the e-cig trend, and parents should talk to their children about the dangers of vaping.

For more information about electronic cigarettes, check out this article on the CDC website.

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