Electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular, especially as they are constantly being advertised as a “safer alternative” to traditional cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the use of e-cigarettes has increased from 1.5% in 2011 to over 16% in 2015 among high-school aged students. When it comes to oral health, however, new research suggests E-cigarettes could be just as bad as smoking.
E-cigarettes have a battery inside with a heating device that vaporizes a liquid that gets inhaled. Although this liquid does not contain tobacco, it does have nicotine and flavoring chemicals that are harmful to your body. Nicotine in particular is a highly addictive component that can have a negative impact on adolescent brain development. Not to mention, E-cigarettes can produce many oral health problems, such as oral cancer, tooth loss, and gum disease.
A study was conducted in South Korea involving a representative sample of middle-school and high-school aged students. 65,528 students were asked if during the past year they had experienced gingival pain, bleeding, tongue pain, inside cheek pain, a cracked tooth, or a combination of any of the above asked. They were also asked if they had ever used an E-Cigarette. The researchers found that 297 students (0.5%) used E-cigarettes daily, 1,259 (1.9%) used ECs 1 to 29 days in the past month, 3,848 (5.9%) were former EC users, and 60,124 (91.8%) never used E-cigarettes.
The study revealed that there were significantly higher chances of having experienced a cracked tooth, tongue pain, inside-cheek pain, or both among daily, within 1-29 days in the past month, and former E-cigarette users.
Another study looked at vapor-exposed epithelial cells under a microscope and discovered that there was a significant increase in epithelial cell death. They found that E-cigarette vapor destroyed 53% of cells within the mouth after 3 days. This suggests that the death of protective cells may lead to a higher risk of infection, gum disease, inflammation, and even possibly cancer.
Talk to your kids about the harms of E-cigarettes and smoking products, as well as the importance of maintaining your oral health to ensure overall health.
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.