At our family dentistry in Eugene, Oregon, Dr. Feldmanis strives to provide all of her patients with the information needed to enjoy a healthy, great-looking smile for a lifetime.
When it comes to our oral health, a number of bad habits can negatively impact the health of our teeth and gums. While diets high in sugar and a copious amount of soda consumption can both increase our risk for tooth decay, no habit comes close to smoking as it relates to damaging our oral health.
For many people, vaping using electronic cigarettes has taken the place of smoking, due largely to the perceived notion that vaping is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. While the idea that vaping offer a safer alternative is one often repeated by e-cig manufacturers, however, that claim fails to hold up to now emerging research.
One recent study examining the effects of e-cigarettes on oral health suggests that vaping may cause even more damage to gum tissue than smoking traditional cigarettes.
New Evidence Comes to Light
Since gaining popularity at the beginning of the decade, e-cigarettes use has exploded. Just recently, vaping and c-cig sales have jumped by 600 percent since 2017.
Claims made by e-cig manufacturers about their products being safer than traditional forms of smoking is largely credited for helping to contribute to this explosion in popularity. To determine whether these claims were accurate, researchers from the VCU School of Dentistry decided to take a closer look.
By examining data collected as part of the PubMed database, researchers sorted through a variety of studies that looked at the effects of vaping and e-cig use on oral health. What they found was quite surprising.
Smoking traditional cigarettes contributes to poor oral health in a number of ways. First, smoking encourages the growth of plaque, a harmful oral bacteria most responsible for the development of gum disease. Second, the tar in cigarettes leads to tooth discoloration and persistent bad breath.
While these issue are serious enough, researchers found that vaping presents an even bigger risk.
Even though e-cigs don’t contain tar and certain other highly dangerous substances, they do contain over 7,000 chemicals not found in traditional cigarettes. These chemicals, many of which remain largely untested on the human body, are proving to be highly dangerous, according to researchers.
In their study, researchers determined that chemicals commonly found in e-cigs actively attack gum tissue. Not only do these chemicals make gum tissue less healthy, they effectively interfere with the body’s ability to naturally heal gum tissue. Researchers found that e-cig use changes cellular activity, which increases the users’ risk for gum disease and tissue loss.
By using e-cig, users are actually destroying their gum tissue. When compared to traditional cigarette use, e-cig users experience more inflammation, more gum bleeding, and more permanent damage to their gum tissue.
Clearly, based on these findings, it can now be said that using e-cigs is not a healthier alternative.
Protecting Your Oral Health
At our family dentistry in Eugene, Oregon, Dr. Feldmanis can help patients repair the damage caused by gum disease. But for treatments to be effective, patients must give up harmful habits like using e-cig products.
While vaping has carried a positive reputation compared to traditional cigarettes, it seems that as more research is done, that reputation is likely to change.