Although eCigarettes have become a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes, their lack of smoke doesn’t mean that they’re any better for your teeth and gums than normal cigarettes. If you’re trying to improve your oral health, the best thing to do is to quit any nicotine or tobacco use, but if you’re using eCigarettes, there are some important facts you should know.
Unhealthy even without smoke
ECs or e-Cigarettes don’t give off traditional cigarette smoke. Instead, they deliver a mix of chemicals to users and an additional blend of aerosols. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has started conducting research on ECs due to their rapid growth and popularity. The purpose of the research and study is to discover the physiological and biological effects of the chemical components in ECs. Until this research is complete, it’s not entirely understood how ECs specifically affect oral health.
How eCigarettess work
With a more technical name for electronic nicotine delivery systems, ECs heat a metal element using a battery charge. The metal element vaporizes a chemical mix of nicotine, formaldehyde and other unhealthy chemicals through water vapor that the gum tissues absorb easily.
Nicotine’s effect on oral health
Nicotine is extremely drying to oral tissues, which depletes saliva. Saliva is the oral cleanser in your mouth that removes bacteria and food particles and without enough of it, bacteria growth increases. A dry mouth without sufficient saliva increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. No matter how people introduce nicotine into their system, it constricts blood vessels in the mouth, which inhibits the oral tissues ability to heal properly. This is why dentists advise patients considering dental implants stop tobacco use or decrease usage significantly.
Further research required
With the current limited scientific evidence regarding ECs, there’s a strong concern that they could be detrimental to the health of smokers and nonsmokers. Further research into the effects of the ECs aerosol mixtures on tissues, cells, and the oral cavity will give better insight and evidence on the potentially harmful effects of these devices. Research is set to begin by February 2016 and will focus on the effects of the aerosol mixture instead of the effects of nicotine because researchers already know that information. By gauging the impact of the vaporized chemical delivery to oral tissues, lung tissues, and airway structures, researchers can gain a better understanding of the effects of long-term exposure to ECs.
No type of cigarette or tobacco use comes without risks, and the misconceptions that eCigarettes are somehow healthier can ruin your smile and overall health. If you’re a smoker, we want to make sure we help with your specific oral care needs so you can have a healthy mouth and improved smile. Contact Dupont Dental for information about our dental treatments and to learn more about the benefits of quitting tobacco and nicotine use.