When e-cigs first gained popularity, supporters touted them as a healthy alternative to smoking—tar free, flame free, and risk free. But, with growing concerns about vape-related health problems in the news, it’s time that people learn the truth about these trendy products. So, how do e-cigs impact your oral health? And are they healthier than cigarettes? This month, we’ve collected everything you need to know about e-cigs and your smile.
How do e-cigs affect your oral health?
There are many kinds of e-cigs, also known as vapes—ranging from vape pens and box vaporizers, to disposable, cigarette-shaped devices. But, no matter which e-cig you use, all expose your mouth to the vaporizer and its vapors. Unfortunately, both of these can be potentially damaging for your oral health.
Contact with a malfunctioning vape can be dangerous. Between the years of 2015 and 2017, over 2,000 people were admitted to the hospital because of exploding vapes and batteries. Injuries ranged from burns and cuts, to jaw loss, tooth loss, and even death. Unfortunately, these accidents are still occurring, posing a threat not only to e-cig users but also to those around them.
Vapors are also potentially harmful to the entire body. The flavors that appeal most to teens are often unregulated and purchased online. Some of these sweet or candy-flavored pods have been known to contain mislabeled or unlabeled toxins like carcinogens, formaldehyde, and high levels of nicotine. By vaporizing and inhaling these chemicals, those who vape put their mouths, lungs, and bodies at risk for potentially serious health issues, while exposing those around them to harmful secondhand vapors.
However, even regulated pods with nicotine pose a threat to oral health. Nicotine is linked to dry mouth, increased levels of bacteria in the mouth, and inflammation. According to some studies, vaping can lead to gum disease and increased rates of cavities. One of the most notable risks of using nicotine products is addiction. Though some people use vapes to quit smoking, many young people who begin vaping become addicted to nicotine and end up switching to cigarettes—a habit with devastating oral health effects.
Quit e-cigs for good
As new research continues to emerge, medical professionals are learning more about the long-term impacts of vaping each day. At Tikson & Eichenlaub General and Cosmetic Dentistry, we strongly advise our patients to steer clear of e-cigs, quit if you are a vape user, and encourage your teen to never begin vaping.
Up to 40% of high school seniors vape, so educate your teen and support them as they quit. In addition to being dangerous for health, purchasing vape pods is also illegal for those under 21 in Ohio.
For more information about how to quit, we urge people to take advantage of the many free, confidential resources offered by websites like teen.SmokeFree.gov, SmokeFree.gov, and MyLifeMyQuit.com. With professional support, you can live a vape-free life and enjoy your best health.