If you don’t want to give up smoking, a common belief is that using electronic cigarettes, also known as vaping, is a healthier alternative. Vaping has greatly increased in popularity over the years, but is it as innocuous as they say?
Recently, vaping got some negative publicity. In early May 2018, USA Today wrote that over the last 5 years, more than 8,000 children younger than 6 drank nicotine liquid. These cartridges are colorful and often packaged in containers that look like cookies or candy. Between this and the fact that packages often depict cartoon characters, some conclude that e-cig companies are targeting kids intentionally.
It is true that e-cig vapor does not contain tar, a dangerous carcinogen found in traditional cigarettes. However, e-cigs give off toxic chemicals and they do contain nicotine, which is addictive. Additionally, using e-cigs can be bad for your oral health.
Are E-Cigs Safer Than Other Tobacco Products?
E-cigs have lower levels of the chemicals found in regular cigarettes, but studies have found the following harmful chemicals in their vapor:
While found in lower levels in e-cigarette vapor than in traditional cigarettes, several studies have found toxins in e-cigs. These include:
- Diethylene Glycol
The FDA reports that many of these cause cancer. Diethylene glycol is a carcinogen that is a main component in antifreeze.
What About Oral Health Effects?
Tar is the main cause of lung cancer and emphysema, and it’s true that e-cigs do not contain this. Nicotine, however, is present in electronic cigarette vapor. No matter where it comes from, nicotine negatively impacts your oral health.
Nicotine restricts your blood flow. In turn, this restricts the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to your soft tissue, such as your gums. The result of this can be:
- Dry Mouth
- Loss of Teeth
- Tooth Decay
- Swelling Gums
- Gum Tissue Rescission
- Gum Disease
- Bad Breath
- Irritated Gums
Remember, there is currently extensive research surrounding e-cigs, so we don’t know everything about vaping right now. Based on what we know, it is feasible to say that vaping may be safer than smoking cigarettes.
If you opt to use e-cigs, make sure you educate yourself so you’re aware of the risks to your dental health and to the rest of your body. Flossing daily, brushing twice daily, and visiting the dentist twice a year is important for everyone, but e-cig users need to be especially strict about following these oral health guidelines.
Electronic cigarettes come with a long list of potential dangers, but they may be safer than traditional cigarettes. If you’re a non-smoker, don’t start using e-cigs, and if you’re a parent, talk to your child about the dangers of vaping.
To learn more about e-cigs, visit the CDC website.