While it’s often portrayed as a safe alternative to smoking, the risks associated with vaping are not yet clear. Recent studies have indicated that e-cigarette vapors could have a damaging effect on your mouth. Here’s what you need to know.
Electronic cigarettes are not regulated like other tobacco products, meaning there is little oversight of their ingredients. E-juice can include any number of harmful substances, including nicotine, glycerin, chemical flavoring, propylene glycol, and more. While some of these ingredients have been proven safe in other uses, such as artificial flavoring in foods, the effects they can have when heated and inhaled have not been fully researched.
Vaping and Oral Health
A recent study from UCLA found that vapors from an e-cigarette can kill the cells in your oral cavity, the area of your mouth beyond your teeth and gums. After placing oral cells in an environment where electronic cigarette smoke was produced for 24 hours, researchers found that 85% of the exposed cells had died. These oral cavity cells function as an important part of your body’s natural defense system. As they die or become less effective, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to oral diseases.
Another study run by the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded that e-cigarettes can be just as bad for your gums as traditional tobacco products. Nicotine, which both types of cigarettes contain, is a known factor in contributing to gum disease.
Steps You Can Take
Since e-cigarettes have been shown to cause many of the same oral health problems as regular cigarettes, it’s best to avoid smoking either. Both have been shown to negatively impact the cells of your oral cavity that your body uses to defend itself against dangerous bacteria and other substances. Without your mouth’s natural defense system, you open yourself up to oral disease.
Make sure you are regularly visiting our Houston Periodontist, especially if you are a smoker of either traditional or electronic cigarettes. Our experienced dental team will perform a complete oral examination during your visit to check for signs of oral disease. Being proactive is your best defense against oral disease.