Ecigarettes claim to be the new “healthier” alternative to the traditional cigarette. While there hasn’t been enough time yet on the market to study the potential long-term effects of ecigarettes, it’s not hard to see the appeal of these devices. The smell is more appealing than the standard cigarette and the vapor does not taste as burnt as the regular cigarette. But does this really make the ecigarette better for you?
However, ecigarettes can still negatively affect your oral health. Most ecigarette users elect for a solution that contains nicotine as a replacement for smoking, but nicotine itself has been proven to cause oral health issues. These issues can include bad breath, masking symptoms of gum disease and gum recession
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which means it restricts blood flow to internal organs. When polled, ecigarette users themselves have also said that they felt mouth dryness and irritation as one of the primary side effects of vaping – symptoms of nicotine causing a reduction in saliva production This, in turn, reduces saliva production, and without the proper amount of saliva, bacteria can build up in your mouth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. As a vasoconstrictor, nicotine can also lead to death of gum tissues.
Nicotine is also a stimulant. If you’re already prone to teeth grinding, this could actually make your grinding habit worse. Grinding your teeth can lead to flat teeth, crowns or even the dreaded root canal. For more information on what issues nicotine can cause, check out this article on Ask the Dentist.
Part of the appeal of ecigarettes is the flavor options, and while the flavor is certainly preferred to burnt tobacco smoke, it still may not be healthy to inhale. Diacetyl, a chemical found in some ecigarette liquids, has been linked to a respiratory infection known “popcorn lung.”
Additionally, a recent study was conducted at UCLA that tested the flavors from several different companies. The vapors tested from some manufacturers contained small particles of metal, silica and carbon – definite hazards to health!
Tests also found that the mouth’s natural defense cavity is severely weakened by ecigarette vapors. An antioxidant called glutathione is crucial to keeping your mouth happy and healthy, but the study found that glutathione levels were reduced by as much as 85 percent after exposed to ecigarette vapor.
If you use ecigarettes and want to learn more about how they affect your health, discuss your habit with your dentist at your next appointment. To schedule a visit, call us today at 585-589-0000 or request an appointment online now.