With the recent restrictions on smoking in public restaurants and pubs as well as a big push over the last decade on responsibility with regards educating people on the dangers of smoking, it’s no surprise that e-cigarettes have become gradually more popular. Offering an alternative with less negative health implications and yet still serving the craving of nicotine, it’s no wonder many smokers have made the switch. The issue of course is that E-cigarettes still contain nicotine and harmful substances, in some cases more so than in regular tobacco cigarettes.
The evidence from a study taken by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the US, has shown that E-cigarettes offer roughly a comparable amount of nicotine exposure as tobacco cigarettes. On top of this finding, the other issue just as prominent with vaping however, seems to be the potentially toxic substances found in these mixes and that although there are significantly less than the numbers found in normal cigarettes, carcinogens are still present and can have the potential to cause lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
Is it an alternative to cigarettes? Yes but with a few caveats in place. It’s certainly not a 100% risk-free alternative and it feels almost as if the industry has circumvented the clamp down on cigarettes and tobacco (including advertising those products) and found a way to sell something less harmful and advertise it as a solution to smokers everywhere. Surely, it’s a matter of degrees and if vaping results in less cases of lung cancer, heart disease and asthma this can only be a good thing? But what about the non-respiratory linked conditions associated with vaping?
Often people don’t consider the impact vaping can have on someone’s dental health. It may not be obvious but the vapour itself contains nicotine which reduces blood flow and affects the soft tissues of the mouth. In turn, this prevents the protective system in your mouth to protect against bacteria and other germs which could affect your health. It can cause infection and tooth loss and the nicotine can heavily impact the health of your gums.
The fact is that these elements can cause the following:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Gum recession
- Tooth loss
This is all as a result of vaping due to the fact that there is still nicotine contained in an E-cigarette, which impacts blood circulation which potentially can result in these conditions.
What your Dentist says?
Generally, most dentists would say that E-cigarettes are a better option for smokers than regular cigarettes, however, that’s not to say it’s recommended. Nicotine patches are a much better alternative to curb those cravings and they do work for many people. The problem with vaping in general is that they still contain nicotine, as discussed, causing issues with oral health which is a prime concern for a dentist. The other issue is that with little to no regulation still, and the fact that there are so many mixes available with different flavourings and possibly a multitude of unknown toxins and carcinogens, there is no official word on the safety of these products, not to mention the effects they cause from second hand inhalation.
In the UK, under 18s can vape but distributors are not allowed to sell to under 18s. It’s clear however, that they are becoming more prevalent with the young and almost sold now as a fashion accessory. The real worry for health experts now is that this becomes a bigger problem. With young people taking it up (whereas before they may not have even smoked cigarettes) and suffering from poor dental health due to the side effects, this problem could cause major dental concerns in the future for many.