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E-cigarettes and Oral Health: Is Vaping a Safer Alternative to Smoking?

October 20, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drdara @ 12:23 pm

Dr. Dara,
I have been diagnosed with gum disease and jaw bone loss. My dentist explained that smoking is a big part of the problem. Would it be better to switch to e-cigarettes?

person vaping

Vaping pens, e-cigarettes, and JUULs are marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and many people have turned to vaping to avoid the danger of nicotineOn the surface, e-cigarettes seem to have advantages over regular cigarettes, they are definitely less smelly and are advertised to have less nicotine. When looked in depth, however, and all facts considered e-cigarettes may be even more dangerous to our oral health than traditional cigarette.

Vaping works by inhaling a heated liquid made up of nicotine, chemicals and flavors.

While chemical like Formaldehyde, Diacetyl, Benzene can cause systemic and lung disease, other like propylene glycol and glycerin directly affect the oral health.

Propylene glycol and glycerin are main ingredients in the vapor. Glycerin is a thick, sweet liquid. Propylene glycol has the ability to bond to the water molecule in the saliva and causes dry mouth. Dry mouth in conjunction with high sugary saliva is a perfect recipe for rapidly developing tooth decay and gum disease. To make matter worst, because of the gum disease, the decay can spread deeper on the root surface where is much more difficult to treat.

teeth after vaping

Nicotine is another dangerous chemical in e-cigarettes. Heavily advertised as less nicotine substitute, in reality could deliver more nicotine. E-cigarettes are less restricted in public for use and more enjoyable, so users reach more often to the e-cigarettes and in reality consume more nicotine.

One e-cartridge (200-400 puffs) takes couple of days to finish and is equal to smoking of two packs of traditional cigarettes, which for an average smoker will take 3-4 days.

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. It means nicotine causes constriction of the blood vessels so there is less blood flow to the gums and the jaw bone. Nicotine also negatively affects the ability of producing immune cells: cytokine and neutrophil, which compromises the ability to remove the bacteria causing gum disease. As a result bacteria can damage the gums, bone and the connective tissue that holds the teeth in place and they become loose.

If you vape, you can expect chronic bad breath (halitosis), receding gums and multiple fast spreading cavities.

Vaping has become more popular in the last few years. With fun colors and many flavors to choose from, as well as being easy to hide e-cigarettes are attractive to young people, creating epidemic rates of use among middle and high school age children.

How did we allow nicotine on the kids menu, setting our children for a life time of addiction is beyond my comprehension and another problem to discuss.

However, advertised as a safe solution to smoking, e-cigarettes come with their own problems and the more we learn about them, the more evidence we have that vaping may be very damaging to our oral health.