“I don’t smoke. I vape.” This phrase might sound fine to a former Manhattan smoker. However, just because e-cigarettes are marketed as “better” for users than cigarettes because they do not contain tobacco, these electronic or battery-powered handheld devices, up to this point, haven’t been tested enough to be categorized as a “safe” alternative to cigarettes. Now, a recent study suggests that e-cigarettes are just as damaging to oral health as conventional tobacco cigarettes.
Study Says: E-Cigarettes Damage Oral Health
A study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center is the first scientific effort to address the detrimental effects of e-cigarettes on oral health. While the absence of tobacco is a plus, the findings show that the frequency and amount with which someone vapes will directly impact how much damage is done to their gums and teeth.
Vaping devices are designed to vaporize flavored liquid that can be inhaled. The liquid may or may not contain nicotine. However, the amount of vapor that can pour out of an e-cigarette is alarming. Even though the e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, how can these clouds possibly be good for teeth and gums? One thing is for certain, any substance that comes in regular contact with your mouth deserves some consideration.
The Vaping Trend in Manhattan
Manhattan is where trends begin and end, and the streets and avenues are populated with plenty of e-cigarette users. Some are reformed smokers. Others have picked up the vaping habit because it simply looks cool and vape shops are easy to find. Unfortunately, young adults and teens are one of the demographics jumping on the vaping trend because it seems safer than cigarettes.
Here are the facts about vaping and e-cigarettes:
- E-cigarettes vape out aerosol, which hits the oral cavity when it is at its hottest, potentially leading to chemical burns.
- Some e-liquids contain toxins (including an ingredient used in antifreeze) such as lead, chromium, and nickel.
- The menthol additive in e-cig liquid can have a negative effect on the gums.
- Vaping commonly leads to dry mouth which, if left untended to, can cause tooth decay.
- The inflammatory properties in e-fluids cause a cellular reaction, which damages gums.
The perception that vaping is a less dangerous habit than smoking is unfortunate – and wrong. Smoking e-cigarettes is a harmful habit, and one that produces high levels of toxicity. If you don’t want amalgam fillings in your mouth, why subject your teeth and gums to the side effects of vaping fluids?
E-Cigarettes Don’t Lower the Risk of Developing Oral Cancer
The FDA reports that smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States – 480,000 people each year are affected by smoking. The tobacco and chemicals in cigarette smoke have been proven to contribute to the growth of cancer in the lungs, throat, and oral cavity. E-cigarettes have not been approved as a method to stop smoking.
The American Dental Association seconds this evidence with its stance that any type of smoking is risky behavior where oral health is concerned. Stained teeth, slow healing, dulled senses, gum disease, and difficulty repairing oral health issues are all possibilities for the e-cigarette user. The takeaway: People who vape are still at risk for oral cancer.
If you vape or if you are a former smoker and have concerns about your oral health, make an appointment with Dr. Michael J. Wei in Midtown Manhattan for a dental exam. If smoking of any kind is in your past, you may eligible for cosmetic dentistry to correct those hard-to-erase nicotine stains or other oral health complaints. If smoking or vaping is still in your present, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with your New York City doctor about the smart choices for your oral health and overall health and well-being.