As vaping becomes a popular way to use tobacco, the concern for damaging effects on your health is also rising. Although overall smoking rates are steadily declining, the use of e-cigarettes is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that one in five high school students use tobacco products. From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use has increased 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students. When it comes to oral health, the argument can be made that vaping could be as dangerous, if not more dangerous than traditional cigarettes.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is use of an e-cigarette which typically contains either the drug tobacco or THC. Vaping works by heating a liquid which generates an aerosol that the user inhales, thus the term “vaping” comes from the vaporized liquid. The liquid is made up of propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, water and the drug nicotine or THC.
Why Is Vaping Harmful To Oral Health?
The first danger of vaping is its carrier ingredient; Propylene Glycol. PG is used primarily in the production of processed foods. It is colorless and odorless with a slightly sweet taste. When used orally, PG is toxic to enamel and soft tissue. PG also causes dry mouth, which we know can greatly increase the likelihood of cavity growth and gum disease.
Another hidden danger of vaping is the combination of vegetable glycerin with flavorings. Vegetable glycerin was once thought not to cause cavities, but studies have shown that when coupled with flavorings, vegetable glycerin can cause a fourfold increase of microbial adhesions on enamel and a twofold increase in forming a biofilm on teeth. In other words, e-liquid allows cavity-causing liquid to adhere to a softened tooth which can rapidly cause decay.
Nicotine is a very addictive, harmful component of e-cigarettes. Nicotine has long proven itself to be bad for oral health. Years of studies have shown nicotine to decrease gingival blood flow. Nicotine also negatively effects gum growth because of the way it impacts immune cells and tissue regeneration.
Lithium batteries used in vaping pens are also a concern. There have been reports of explosions causing extensive mouth damage and even death. Lithium batteries can over heat and explode, leaving one with severe disfigurations due to soft tissue injury.
Supporters of vaping believe e-cigarettes can be a helpful step for long-time traditional cigarette users in their quest to quit smoking. The concern lies in the amount of people who have never tried cigarettes or nicotine who are trying e-cigarettes, especially at a young age.
If you have used e-cigarettes and are concerned about your oral health please schedule an appointment with Sherman Oaks today.