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Home >> Our Blog - Company News and Dental Information >> Smoking VS Vaping: What Is Safer For Oral Health?

Smoking VS Vaping: What Is Safer For Oral Health?

07 November 2016

In recent years, the use of electronic cigarettes has gained increasing popularity. Long term smokers have been switching to electronic cigarettes in increasing numbers but they are also being taken up by non-smokers, who are beginning to use these stylish and modern new devices.

Indeed, the electronic cigarette has become part of an image for many individuals, much like the way that wearing glasses without dioptres did when they were released first, portraying a more stylish look. It is believed that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, but is this true? And can they be considered as a good alternative when considering the health of teeth and the oral cavity?

Smoking – Harms Health

Cigarettes

It is common knowledge that smoking regular cigarettes causes dental and other health problems. The toxic substances in tobacco (more than 100 thousand compounds, including tar, heavy metals, carbon monoxide and others) create a dark plaque on the smoker’s teeth that can cause:

  • Bacteria to multiply
  • Tartar formation
  • Bad breath

Other problems such as inflammation, gum diseases and tooth decay can follow, especially if good dental hygiene is not maintained. Of course, we must not forget about the more serious diseases and health conditions that have a higher risk of occurring and developing in long-term smokers – conditions such as oncological diseases, heart and blood vessel diseases or bronchial and respiratory diseases.

In recent years, electronic cigarettes have gained an unexpected popularity with the variety of different flavours on offer – it is estimated that there are more than 400 brands now with more than 7000 unique offerings! Furthermore, it is generally believed that it is safer to smoke electronic cigarettes than regular cigarettes. Is this true?

How Much Safer are Electronic Cigarettes?

Vape Pen

Electronic cigarettes or “vape pens” are devices that create vapours from a heated fluid (a mixture of solvents, flavouring and nicotine), the temperature of which can reach up to 200°С. The smoker inhales these vapours through a sprayer. In other words, the electronic cigarettes or “vape pens” are not actually being smoked, but the fumes that are created are being inhaled. As it is the fumes being inhaled, some harmful compounds that are present in cigarette smoke are not present, which helps to avoid the teeth colouring and tartar formation that frequently occurs while smoking traditional cigarettes.

It’s important to note that this vapour does still contain nicotine, and although it is dissolved in distilled water and has a pleasant flavour added to it, it still does its dirty work. Nicotine in any shape or form – in a self-rolled cigarette or a modern electronic cigarette - is still harmful for the oral cavity, oral mucosa, gums and enamel. It reduces saliva which causes dryness in the mouth, changes the pH environment and creates favourable conditions for bacteria to multiply.

Furthermore, inhaling these hot and concentrated vapours affects the tissue in the oral cavity which leads to irritation and dryness in the mouth and throat. These symptoms are the most common side effects of smoking electronic cigarettes. 

Research

There has not been enough detailed research undertaken on the effects to the health of teeth from smoking electronic cigarettes, however the research that has been done shows some interesting results.

For example, in 2014, information relating to the use of electronic cigarettes as a tool for quitting smoking was published in one of the most authoritative sources in the field of medicine – the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews”. In it, it was concluded that short term use of the vape pen is not harmful for health.

Vaping

In other research, electronic and regular cigarette brands were compared. The researchers concluded that the amount of toxic substances in the aerosol mixture is significantly lower when compared to tobacco in cigarettes. On the other hand, one of the aromatic components – diacetyl- when inhaled causes hoarseness, coughing and other irritations in the bronchus.

Currently, research is being undertaken to determine the link between the use of electronic cigarettes and the risk of developing oral cancer or periodontitis. According to data gathered by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, USA, nicotine in the form of a vapour is generally absorbed not by the lung alveoli, but by the cheek and throat mucous, therefore it can cause negative effects on these tissues.

Although, in order to understand this area in more detail and to confirm these results, more research must be done in this area.

Proper Care – Avoid Problems

Of course, it is better for your health not to smoke cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, but in cases where it is impossible to quit smoking completely, more attention should be paid to proper oral hygiene and care of the teeth and mouth.

Brushing teeth. When food remnants are stuck between teeth, it provides the ideal place for bacteria to multiply. This is why the use of tooth brush, dental floss and an irrigator is important for dental hygiene - it is a true investment in the health of the oral cavity.Teeth Brushing

Removal of plaque. Plaque on the oral mucosa, especially on the tongue, means that there is an area with large amounts of bacteria. Unpleasant breath is usually caused by plaque which has gathered up on the mucosa. This is the reason why tongue cleaning should be included in your dental hygiene process. You can use a special brush for cleaning the tongue or even a regular teaspoon.

Disease prevention. To reduce the risk of causing irritation processes in the oral cavity and to eliminate plaque, it is suggested to use therapeutic and preventive toothpastes (special toothpastes for smokers can be purchased in pharmacies) and oral rinsing solutions.

Regular check-ups at the dentist. It is important to have regular check-ups at the dentist to monitor the health of teeth and the oral cavity - even if nothing hurts! Dentists will be able to recognise early symptoms of irritation before the problem gets worse and treatment can be carried out in order to prevent further problems and complications.

From the above information, it can be concluded that electronic cigarettes are a slightly better option for your health than smoking regular cigarettes, and they can be useful as a step for those who wish to quit smoking completely. However, it is certainly not without health risks and not the best alternative for people who are looking for a safe substitute for smoking – the best alternative is to not smoke at all!

Of course, the harmful effects and consequences from inhaling fumes from these electronic cigarettes, which contain nicotine, will be lower than they are from regular cigarettes. But when following a new trend or style such as this, you should never forget that your health will still be impacted from regularly using electronic cigarettes.

 

 


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