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Vaping and Your Oral Health

Vaping and Your Oral Health

Tobacco smoking dates all the way back to 5000 BC, used in the Americas during Shamanistic rituals. It wasn’t until the arrival of the European in the 16th century that the growth, use, and trading of tobacco become popular.

Following the reconstruction era of the United States, the cultivation of tobacco was at a high because of modernized farming equipment as well as increased manufacturing of the cigarettes. These two factors led to more access to cigarettes to the general public.

And thus the general upward cigarettes smoking trend began. After crawling to a halt in the 21st century, the advent of e-cigarettes brings with it a nicotine renaissance. But is it as bad as traditional cigarettes?

Quitting cigarette smoking

Nictone is known the world over for its addictive characteristics. Once smoking nicotine becomes a habit, quitting is extremely hard to do. That is because of the withdrawal symptoms that the body has to endure. When trying to ditch the smoking habit, these are some of the expected symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Increase in appetite
  • Weight gain

According to a 2014 study, the majority of smokers regret ever starting the habit in the first place. Sadly, most continue smoking because of the addictive nature of tobacco products.

Seven out of ten smokers want to quit smoking cigarettes but find it difficult, so they turn to what has been peddled as the “safer” alternative.

Vaping

Vaping is relatively new. In fact it is so new that scientists still don’t fully understand what health concerns it will bring with it. And as scientists continue to observe and study the outcome of this new craze, pop culture has rapidly embraced vaping as a preferred alternative to cigarettes.

Vaping is basically smoking an e-cigarette. Most people looking to quit tobacco are turning to e-cigarettes to help them in transitioning to quitting nicotine altogether. According to proponents for the devices, E-cigarettes can deliver a much lower dose of nicotine which indeed can be helpful to someone who is looking to get off cigarettes for good. 

Conventional cigarettes contain up to 7000 harmful chemicals. While it is still hard to establish how many toxic substances are contained in e-cigarettes, there is a general consensus that e-cigarettes contain far fewer toxic chemicals.

Is vaping bad for your oral health?

Since vaping has been touted as the safer alternative to cigarettes, many people are careless about researching the ingredients in e-juice and also the overall effect of the habit on their oral health. We’ve all seen the horror stories of yellow teeth and inflamed gums of regular smokers – yet the same propaganda doesn’t seem to have hit the masses regarding vaping.

As it turns out, there are some potentially scary concerns about what vaping can do to one’s oral health.

Introduces excessive bacteria

Vaping juices contain glycerin and propylene glycol on top of the nicotine. They are also categorized as esters, acids, saccharides, or aldehydes. These components can have carcinogenic effects when exposed to the tooth surface and introduce bacteria into the gums, crevices, and pits of the teeth.

Dry the mouth cavity

The moisture in the mouth cavity is key to keeping away bad breathe, tooth decay and mouth sores. E-cigarette juices, especially those that have propylene glycol, cause mouth dryness making the environment conducive for these problems to occur.

In other application propylene glycol is used as an anti-freeze to prevent leakage that might lead to contact with foods, to absorb moisture in certain medicines, as a solvent in food flavors and colors and to create artificial smoke for theatrical productions or fire training sessions.

Inflames the gums

Gum inflammation is a very uncomfortable and painful condition that disrupts one’s ability to speak or eat. The ingredients and flavorings of e-cigarettes can induce inflammation in the gums, and with continued use, they make this inflammation can become chronic. The flavorings can cause the release of inflammatory cytokine in the periodontal ligament fibroblasts.

Kills tissue in the mouth

Vaping aerosols can damage the DNA of the cells in the mouth, rendering them ineffective and causing them to die eventually. E-cigarette vapor is cytotoxic (it is toxic) to the cell. It also breaks the DNA strands.

This results in a messy death where the cell bursts and contaminates the surrounding cells in the mouth. Unfortunately, these cell deaths can result in sepsis as more cells die, and this is a life-threatening condition that can contribute to multiple organ failure.

However, even before the cell death evolves into a life-threatening situation, it will cause:

  • Bone loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth loss
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Chronic bad breath

Is vaping a lesser evil?

Vaping contains fewer chemicals compared to combustible cigarettes, but nonetheless, it shouldn’t necessarily be promoted as a safer alternative to regular smoking. The biggest myth for many is that e-cigarettes can help one quit smoking. Unfortunately, trends show that most people continue smoking and add vaping to their smoking repertoire.

This trend is known as “dual-use”.

With the well-documented problems of smoking and the unknown effects of smoking combined, the impact of this type of tobacco use will only become apparent in the future and unfortunately, mostly among the youth who are the biggest consumers of the technology.

Conclusion

Dental professionals dealing with vapers have found everything from chemical burns in the mouth to stomatitis. Research may be behind on the effects of vaping to the general health of an individual, including oral health but the prevalent symptoms and effects continue to rise unabated.

As tobacco companies paint e-cigarettes as a safe and cool way of consuming tobacco, it is important to remember some brands of e-cigarettes like contain as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes in a single pod.

And in most cases, the consumers do not know this.

In 2014, tobacco companies spent over $125 million to market e-cigarettes, and their target audience is mainly young people. Twice the number of teenagers and pre-teens used vaping devices in 2018 compared to 2017.

The habit is now considered a public health concern in the United States, and well it should be.

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