Vaping using electronic cigarettes is a popular alternative to using other tobacco products. Electronic cigarettes are sometimes lauded as a safe way to quit smoking, since they give you a nicotine fix without the tar. Also, because they’re available in different strengths of nicotine, tobacco’s addictive component, you can gradually wean yourself off.
However, the buzz surrounding e-cigs isn’t always great. Recently, USA Today reported that between 2012 and 2017, more than 8,000 young children got ahold of liquid nicotine and ended up drinking it, which can be lethal in children under 6. What makes it even scarier is that electronic cigarette cartridges look attractive to kids. They’re often marketed using cartoon characters in packages that resemble cookies and candy.
E-cigs don’t contain lung-hating tar, but, nicotine is not a harmless drug. Plus, just like in traditional cigarettes, electronic ones are loaded with chemicals that can be dangerous to many areas of your health, including your oral health.
Are E-Cigs Safer Than Other Tobacco Products?
Studies have found many toxic chemicals in the vapor produced by e-cigs. And while found in lesser amounts in their electronic counterparts, these are the very same chemicals found in traditional cigarettes.
Harmful chemicals found in e-cigs include:
- Diethylene Glycol
The FDA says that many of these ingredients are carcinogenic. One ingredient, diethylene glycol, is also found in antifreeze.
What About Oral Health Effects?
When you use e-cigs, you don’t need to worry about tar, a toxic resin that coats your lungs when you smoke traditional cigarettes. However, nicotine comes with its fair share of downsides.
No matter what source it comes from, nicotine reduces your blood flow. This is a bad thing for many reasons, including that it reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your gums and cheeks.
The impact on your oral health can mean:
- Loss of Teeth
- Gum Tissue Rescission
- Irritated Gums
- Gum Disease
- Dry Mouth
- Swelling Gums
- Tooth Decay
- Bad Breath
There are many studies about electronic cigarettes that are still underway–there’s a lot about them we don’t know. For now, it is reasonable to say they may be safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. However, it is best to neither smoke, nor vape.
If you’re an e-cig user, make sure you understand the risks to all parts of your body, including oral health. Parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of electronic cigarettes, and nonsmokers shouldn’t start using electronic cigarettes.
Visit the CDC website to learn more information about electronic cigarettes.