Electronic cigarette: does it affect oral health?

The use of electronic cigarettes can have negative effects on oral health. Read on and find out how vaping affects your mouth.

Last update: January 09, 2022

Many people who vape are comfortable with the way they smoke and they even believe that it is healthier. In this article we will tell you how the electronic cigarette influences oral health.

Well, vaping is often considered a less harmful alternative to cigarettes. But the use of nicotine and other toxic substances and their effects on oral structures is not taken into account.

What is and how do electronic cigarettes work?

Electronic cigarettes They are devices capable of heating a liquid and generating an aerosol. They consist of a space to contain the fluid, an element that generates heat and a battery that allows them to function.

It is the steam generated that the person smokes, inhaling and exhaling that mixture of tiny particles. The use of this type of product is called “vaping”.

There is a wide variety of shapes and sizes on the market. There are them with the appearance of cigarettes, pipes, pens, USB sticks and other articles of daily use.

The liquid used in electronic cigarettes often contains nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol, flavorings, and other chemicals and metals that favor the production of aerosol. It’s called “e-cigarette juice” and it comes in different flavored cartridges that can be refilled.

Unlike conventional cigarettes, there is no inhalation of tar or carbon monoxide here. For this reason, many users consider it more harmless.

But the aerosols that are generated do not only contain water vapor. When heated, the nicotine, glycerin and other chemicals contained in the product are inhaled by the person.

These substances are harmful to health, carcinogenic and addictive. For this reason, there are more and more studies and health organizations that advise against its use.

Effects of the electronic cigarette on oral health

There is a significant increase in the use of electronic cigarettes in the population, especially in young people and adolescents. Advertising messages describing it as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco increase public interest in experiencing vaping.

The truth is that smoking in this way also has detrimental effects on health. Conditions in the respiratory, nervous, digestive, circulatory, reproductive and immune systems are associated with the use of electronic cigarettes. And the risks are not only for the consumer, but also for the people around him.

On the other hand, even if it is one of the arguments for its use, It is also not proven to be an effective smoking cessation measure. On the contrary, there are studies that postulate that having tried vaping increases the risk of addiction to nicotine and, in non-smokers, to incorporate the habit later.

But, how does the electronic cigarette act in oral health? Here are some of the negative effects of this habit on the mouth.

The electronic cigarette uses a mixture of substances to make them into an aerosol and to be inhaled.

Oral mucosa problems

Nicotine reduces blood flow throughout the body, affecting the irrigation of the mucous membranes of the mouth. Thus, one of the consequences of the use of electronic cigarettes on oral health is gingival retraction.

The lack of vitality of the gingival tissue due to the decrease in nutrients and oxygen causes the gums to run apically. This exposes the root of the tooth, causing sensitivity and favoring the installation of neck cavities. And in untreated cases, the progress of the destruction of supporting tissues and the loss of teeth.

Inflammation of the gums is another mucosal disease associated with the use of vaporizers. Well, the chemicals that reach the mouth they are capable of irritating the mouth and throat. These tissues can become swollen, red, and painful.

On the other hand, the lack of nutrition in the mucosa prevents them from responding adequately in cases of injury. The healing and damage repair process is altered, making it difficult for the tissues to recover.

This poor healing makes some dental treatments difficult, increasing the risk of complications. The use of implants to rehabilitate mouths with missing teeth, for example, is not suitable in this type of patient. This is relevant, given the high prevalence of tooth loss in people who smoke.

Increased risk of infections

One of the ways in which the electronic cigarette affects oral health is by increasing the chances of developing the most prevalent infectious diseases of the mouth. That is, cavities and periodontitis. Both pictures, without the opportune treatment, they can lead to the destruction or loss of dental elements.

Vaping reduces salivary production and favors the formation and accumulation of bacterial plaque. Plus, the sweet content of flavored sprays supports bacterial metabolism and acid production, just like consuming candy or drinking soda. If you add to this poor dental hygiene, the chances of developing cavities increase.

This pathology destroys the hard tissues of the teeth and progresses towards the internal area of ​​the teeth. If it is not treated in time, It can lead to painful conditions, with pulp inflammation or infections. And if the damage to the tooth is very extensive or the complications are very severe, the need to extract the part of the mouth.

Due to the gingival retraction associated with patients who smoke, cavities neck they are the most frequent. The destruction occurs in the root zone of the tooth, being more aggressive and causing great sensitivity.

The onset of periodontal disease arises as a consequence of the progression of inflammation and untreated gingival recession. Deep tissue destruction and loss of alveolar bone They can lead to tooth mobility and even loss. This pathology is associated with other systemic diseases that affect general health.

The use of electronic cigarettes can also promote the excessive growth of fungi in the mouth. The appearance of oral candidiasis, with white spots on the tongue or redness of the mucous membranes, is a possibility in these people.

Dry mouth

Despite the fact that when using the electronic cigarette the vapor of a liquid is inhaled, dry mouth is another of the oral health problems associated with its use. The presence of propylene glycol among the components of the product could favor xerostomia.

Dry mouth, in addition to being annoying for the patient, favors the development of cavities, the formation of bacterial plaque and the appearance of sores. In addition, it causes halitosis or bad breath.

Oral cancer

The mixture of toxic substances that enter the body when using electronic cigarettes could increase the risk of any oral cancer. There is still no concise evidence regarding the relationship between vaping and cancer, but most studies conclude that its use is harmful and its action similar to tobacco in the development of malignancy in cells.

Does the electronic cigarette stain the teeth?

Smoking tobacco in a traditional way colors the teeth with a yellowish or brown hue that highlights the habit. In the case of electronic cigarettes, stains on teeth are less likely.

This is due to the absence of tar in combustion, the main cause of staining. This lower risk of staining teeth is an aspect used by e-cigarette marketers and advertising. Well, there is no evidence that shows the presence of dental pigmentation due to its use.

In any case, the yellow coloration of the teeth is an aesthetic problem and not a health problem. The lack of staining of the teeth when using these products it is not a sufficient argument to validate its use. The damage of the electronic cigarette to oral health is a much more serious problem.

It is true that e-cigarettes do not stain your teeth, but this is a minor benefit compared to the severe problems derived from vaping.

No cigarette is better

As we tell you, use the electronic cigarette it has many negative effects on oral health. And although it has gained popularity as a healthy product, it is not for the mouth.

Quitting smoking is always a beneficial decision for the person. The health gains are varied and manifold.

But opting for the electronic cigarette as a method of eliminating the habit is not a good idea. In addition to not being proven its effectiveness, the health consequences remain detrimental. Not to mention that nicotine dependence could continue.

There are other less harmful and scientifically supported alternatives to quitting. Seeking professional help is a good idea.

And in the event that the habit of vaping is already installed, the best thing for oral health is also to try to quit the electronic cigarette. Anyway, like any addiction, the process can be difficult and lengthy.

Caring for teeth with proper dental hygiene is essential to counteract the harmful effects of vaping in the mouth. Eating a healthy diet, hydrating frequently, and making regular visits to the dentist are also part of oral care.

And look for alternatives that help to quit smoking, in any of its versions, it is the best way to take care of the mouth and have a healthy smile.

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