WE’VE BEEN HEARING for decades how dangerous smoking is to many aspects of our health. As dental professionals, our focus is particularly on the dangers to oral health, including unsightly stains on teeth at the less serious end of the spectrum, to a massively increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease, to life-threatening oral cancer. More recently, vaping and e-cigarettes have emerged as an alternative, but are they any better?
The Data Is Starting to Come In, and It Isn’t Good
Because these particular nicotine delivery mechanisms are so new, there isn’t as much data about their effects, but the evidence far shows a link between e-cigarettes and poor oral health. No matter how nicotine is consumed, it restricts blood flow to the gums, contributing to gum disease. An iScience study showed that far more e-cigarette users have gum disease than people who don’t.
People Who Vape Are Getting Periodontal Disease Younger
It’s difficult to know the long-term dangers of something so new, but researchers are seeing periodontal disease (typically an adult disease) in younger patients who vape, as well as an increase in cavities.
The term “vape” is also misleading. This isn’t water vapor that contains nicotine, it works more like aerosol — essentially nicotine hairspray, for the mouth. That doesn’t sound as appetizing, does it?
We Encourage Our Patients to Prioritize Oral Health
There are plenty of activities that are fun to do, look cool, and don’t endanger your oral and overall health in any way. We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment, and make sure you’re prioritizing the health of your teeth and gums in the meantime!