Oral Health: E-Cigarettes Aren’t Doing Your Mouth Any Favors
You’ve heard of “vaping,” right?
If not, the idea is simple—using battery-operated e-cigarettes, a handheld liquid solution is heated until it vaporizes. From there, when the user “puffs” the device, the newly produced vapor is inhaled and a brief euphoric moment achieved.
Seems harmless enough, right?
Not so fast—since first attempting to burst the tobacco bubble back in 2003, proponents of the vaping movement have passionately defended e-cigarettes, claiming that they’re a healthier alternative to smoking regular, run-of-the-mill cigarettes.
And while it’s true that they don’t contain all of the same harmful substances like tobacco, they do contain nicotine and a variety of other chemicals, many of which are often used as flavoring agents.
The Truth of the Matter
Relatively new, not much has been known about the consequences of using e-cigarettes.
However, thanks to recent research conducted by Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, all of that is quickly changing.
To kick off their investigation, Rahman and his team subjected the gums of non-smokers to either tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-cigarette vapor.
Both substances contained roughly the same amount of nicotine.
After a period of time, Rahman noticed that e-cigarette vapor caused similar levels of gum tissue damage as those of its tobacco smoke counterpart.
Said Rahman of his findings, “We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.”
The Real Danger, Though? Flavored Vapor …
Yes, nicotine is a well-known culprit in the world of gum disease research—nothing new, there.
However, Rahman did discover something new about flavored e-cigarette vapor—shockingly, it greatly accelerated cell damage, with menthol-flavored vapor proving to be the most destructive.
Naturally, more research is needed to further solidify Rahman’s findings.
Play It Safe—Don’t Vape (Or Smoke), Kids
That said, with e-cigarette vapor having now proven itself capable of killing upwards of 53 percent of mouth cells in only three day’s time, it won’t be long before knowledge of its damning effects is widespread.
For now, though, for the sake of your patients’ periodontal health, if at all possible, you’d be wise to steer them clear of the e-cigarette movement.