Since hitting the market, electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have been perceived by the public to be a healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes. However, when it comes to your smile, research is showing that vaping is not a friendly alternative to smoking.
Rather than producing smoke, e-cigarettes use a vapor to deliver a blend of nicotine, formaldehyde, and other chemicals. While tar compounds have been eliminated from the mix, the remaining chemicals are still harmful.
Besides nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can contain cancer-causing chemicals and tiny particles that reach deep into lungs. In a report shared by the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the addictive nicotine contained in most e-cigarettes has known health effects.
There is also growing concern that, rather than quit smoking and rid one’s dependency on nicotine, people switch to “vaping” as what is falsely perceived as a safer alternative.
Too, youth use of e-cigs seems to be growing. This is especially concerning because, in addition to their oral health, nicotine exposure can also harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s. And youth use of e-cigarettes is associated with the progression of other tobacco product use, including cigarettes. (https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm)
Although people think of the lungs when they smoke, or in the use of electronic cigarettes – “vape”, the oral cavity takes the initial brunt of these chemicals. As the vapor is inhaled, its entry point is the mouth and its ling of tissues. The chemical mix passes over the oral tissues, which are absorbent by nature. This makes the gum tissues the natural, initial receptor for the misty chemical concoction.
Some of the latest research has shown that the chemicals from electronic cigarettes can damage the oral tissues of the mouth. One study, as reported by Science Daily and published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, found that e-cigs pose more hazards to a smile than many realize. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161116101821.htm)
Previous findings have shown that the linings in your mouth are highly important to your overall health as well as your overall health. Oral tissues are now known as the body’s first line of defense against microbial infection, actually shielding us from dangerous micro-organisms that live in the mouth.
This study assessed the effects of e-cigs on these linings. Oral tissue cells were exposed to the vapor of electronic cigarettes equivalent to two 5-second inhales per minute, totaling a period of 15 minutes a day. At a normal rate, the cells in oral tissues die at a daily average of two percent. In the study, it was found that after one, two and three days, the cells exposed to e-cigs died off at rates of 18, 40 and 53 percent, respectively.
Although the full extent of potential damage is still being researched, there has been much concern about elements that can damage this defensive layer in the mouth. This poses an increased risk of infection, inflammation, and gum disease, and a suspected higher risk of cancer.
Nicotine, consumed by any method, is known to have a drying effect on oral tissues. This decreases saliva that is designed to help cleanse food particles and bacteria from the mouth. Without sufficient saliva, bacteria multiply easier, increasing your risk for tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
We want your oral health to complement your overall health through exceptional care. If you are looking for a dental office in Macomb County or in the Shelby Township area, we are always happy to welcome new patients. You may want to begin with a free consultation to discuss your specific needs.
If you experience fear or anxiety associated with dental care, I’ll also discuss ways we can help you relax throughout your visit. (In the meantime, you may want to download our free “Guide For The Fearful Dental Patient.” Just tap here – or call us to request your a be mailed to you.)
Call 586-739-2155 or tap here to arrange your free consult.