Family Dentist Indianapolis discusses impact of e-cigarettes on oral health

When a smoker comes into our office, our first recommendation is always that they do everything they can to quit smoking. In recent years, our patients have been switching from traditional tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes. While these are less risky for your lungs, they can cause just as much damage to your oral health.
Electronic Cigarettes have been popularized as a safer alternative to conventional smoking. However, new research suggests there isn't much good news on the effect it has on oral health.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices comprising a heating unit and a cartridge filled with a liquid. While the liquid does not contain tobacco, it does have nicotine and other chemicals along with a flavoring agent. When the user drags a puff of the device, the heating unit vaporizes the liquid and the resulting vapor is inhaled.
In a study published in the journal Oncotarget, researchers found that the chemicals present in the e-cigarette vapor were equally, if not more damaging to oral cells when compared to tobacco smoke. This damage -which was even found to be more than tobacco smoke in some cases- can lead to various problems like gum diseases, tooth loss and eventually even oral cancer!
The use of e-cigarettes has increased in recent years as they are considered to be safer than conventional cigarettes. However, since it a relatively new concept to have hit the market, not much is known about the long-term effects of vaping.
Recently, a  team led by Irfan Rahman from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York conducted exclusive research to study the effect of e-cigarette vapor on oral health. The researchers found that all e-cigarette vapors caused damage to the gum tissue which was comparable to that caused by tobacco smoke. They also observed that although nicotine is a known contributor to periodontal diseases, the most harm was being done by the menthol-flavored vapor.
Another study, published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, found a high death rate of mouth cells with exposure to e-cigarette vapor over just a few days, building on the findings of Rahman and his colleagues.
Although the researchers advocate the need for further research to study the long-term effects of vaping on oral health, they do assert that the findings of their study are a cause for concern.
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