Everybody knows that smoking is bad for your health. And most of our patients further understand that smoking can lead to gum disease and oral health issues. So what about “e-cigarettes” or “vaping” as an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking?
Many smokers who can’t or won’t quit have turned to these nicotine-delivery systems that don’t have the smell associated with traditional cigarettes. In fact, a 2015 CDC report said that 16% of high school students were using e-cigarettes, compared to just 1.5 percent only four years earlier.
Here’s our take on the subject: A report published in Journal of Cellular Physiology says: “Although it (e-cigarette vapor) doesn’t contain tar compounds like regular cigarette smoke, it exposes mouth tissues and the respiratory tract to compounds produced by heating the vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and nicotine aromas in e-cigarette liquid. Damage to the defensive barrier in the mouth can increase the risk of infection, inflammation and gum disease. Over the longer term, it may also increase the risk of cancer.” (Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia, Universite Laval’s (Canada) Faculty of Dental Medicine).
While more research is necessary to study long-term oral health effects, we caution our patients to think before they “vape.” The real long-term hazards of these products may not even appear in chronic users for another decade.