E-cigarettes are on the rise. Itís estimated that within 10 years e-cigarettes will outsell tobacco products, since they are considered a safer and less expensive alternative to smoking. Yet, many traditional smokers continue to consume tobacco through regular cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes. Almost 15,000 e-cigarette stores popped up over a few years. Similar to their analog counterpart, e-cigarettes are at the heart of a developing controversy. The most prominent concern is safety, for both smokers and non-smokers. Smoking has been linked to cancer and heart disease, and while e-cigarette consumers will argue that e-cigarettes are a safer method of tobacco use, there are still health-related side effects. Due to the lower cost, and ability to smoke indoors, there has been concern that e-cigarettes are becoming a gateway drug for nonsmokers and teens.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
The battery powered electronic device contains a cartridge with e-juice (made up of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol and liquid nicotine) and a heating element to produce vapor. Since vapor is produced instead of smoke, the amount of toxic chemicals emitted are significantly reduced. This battery powered device also reduces the odor that normally accompanies smoking. Artificial flavors are also added to produce pleasant scents like bubble gum and pop tarts. But are e-cigarettes safe?
How Vaping Affects Your Oral Health
Unlike smoking a cigarette - which can cause yellow teeth, plaque buildup, and lung cancer - the ingredients contained in e-cigarettes donít contain harmful chemicals that cause tooth discoloration. The mixture of distilled water, artificial flavor, and liquid nicotine turns into a vapor that doesnít contribute to tooth decay. However, nicotine does reduce your saliva production which can lead to other side effects:
- Cause dry mouth which results in halitosis (bad breath)
- Increase chances of tooth decay
- Make you more susceptible to cavities
- Cause periodontal disease
- Cause development of chronic coughing
- Cause inflammation of the gums and bleeding
However, it remains unclear if e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco. It still contains nicotine which can cause irritability and anxiety for those who are trying to quit smoking. Itís also debatable whether propylene glycol is safe for inhalation.
Itís important to remember that since e-cigarettes are relatively new there arenít many studies that can speak to its long-term effects on our oral health. While itís a better alternative for
smokers, non-smokers who are curious about vaping should keep in mind that this recreational activity can contribute to some major health concerns, and that the effects of vapor exposure arenít largely known.
If you have any other questions about e-cigarettes please contact us for additional information.