When comparing e-cigs to traditional cigarettes, most would agree on the surface, e-cigs appear to come with less negative consequences than smoking cigarettes. For instance, with e-cigs, you aren’t smoking tobacco—in fact, you aren’t even inhaling smoke, you inhale a vapor—you don’t smell like tobacco, and they are cheaper than spending money on a pack of cigarettes, not to mention it’s safer. However, one must stop and wonder what risk e-cigs pose to your oral health?
A Closer Look at E-Cigs
To date, there has been little research conducted on the side effects of an electronic cigarette. According to a report at New York University, the most notable difference between e-cigs and traditional means of smoking tobacco is that electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco; however, they do contain nicotine derived from the tobacco plant which is “associated with toxicity and addiction.” Furthermore, the FDA and Lung Association “have cautioned that e-cig users are unknowingly inhaling vaporized chemicals including diethylene glycol.”
E-Cig Advantages over Traditional Cigarettes
We all know that traditional cigarettes can lead to teeth discoloration, bad breath from plaque buildup, and, ultimately, can result in various forms of cancer. The chemical compounds and carcinogenic agents in traditional cigarettes—ammonia, carbon monoxide, and acetone to name a few—are carried from the smoke being inhaled and leave behind a nasty residue, which will stay on your teeth causing them to stain. Whereas the smoke from traditional cigarettes can lead to plaque buildup and leave ugly stains on your teeth, e-cigs do not leave unattractive stains or residues behind. Without plaque and tartar buildup from tobacco, the chances of e-cig users to develop bad breath/halitosis greatly diminishes. Traditional means of smoking also are known to lead to periodontal disease because of how the chemicals irritate the gums causing them to bleed from swelling or become infected which increases your risk for oral cancer.
Risks of E-Cigs
Although a lot of research is lacking on the potential harms that e-cigs pose to an individual’s oral and overall health is lacking, one possible side effect is dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when your body is unable to produce saliva, which is crucial to oral health due to the fact that it acts as a protective barrier that shields your mouth from germs. Another crucial role that saliva plays is it contains minerals and proteins that preserve your enamel, which prevents tooth decay and gum disease.