Millions of Americans, including teens and even younger children, use e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking tobacco. E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are handheld, battery-operated electronic devices that attempt to duplicate the feeling of smoking. The device heats a liquid to generate an aerosol vapor that is inhaled. The e-liquid usually contains nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerin in addition to flavorings.
Because e-cigarettes are smoke-less, are they safer? A recent study suggests that e-cigarettes can be as harmful to gums and teeth as regular cigarettes.
Study Shows E-Cigarettes Harmful to Teeth and Gums
Researchers exposed nonsmokers’ gum tissue to the vapors from e-cigarettes. When the vapors were burned, mouth cells release inflammatory proteins that aggravate stress within cells. The result was damage that could lead to various oral diseases.
The study also showed that the flavoring chemicals used in e-cigarettes play a role in damaging the cells in the mouth. Certain flavorings more than others made the cell damage even worse.
Importantly, e-cigarettes contain nicotine just as do other tobacco products including cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Nicotine is known to contribute to gum disease. Variables such as how often someone smokes an e-cigarette will determine the extent of damage to the gums and oral cavity.
The researchers acknowledge that more study is needed, including long-term and comparative studies. One recommendation from the study is that manufacturers disclose all the chemicals and other materials used in e-cigarettes to help consumers understand the potential dangers.
These findings appear to counter arguments that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking.
Reduce Your Risk of Gum Disease by Stopping Tobacco Products
Half of periodontal disease in smokers is caused by smoking. Tobacco use is a major risk factor in the development of gum disease.
Tobacco users have more tartar, or hardened plaque, than non-smokers. Smoking can cause gum disease to get worse faster and hinders healing so treatment is more difficult.
Talk to your doctor about the best way to stop using tobacco products. Quitting now will greatly reduce serious health risks.
Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.