Are There Reasons to Avoid E-cigs and Vaping?
As a dentist, I want to weigh in on smoking. The fight against Big Tobacco has been going on for decades. The children who were being targeted by the Marlboro Man, Joe the Camel, and other attractive commercial personalities are now middle-aged adults. E-cigs and vaping have replaced the harmful tobacco smoke inhaled by millions, but are they safer?
Vaping is Still a Risky Habit
Tobacco smoke has been responsible for a variety of cancers and respiratory problems for both smokers and those who inhale second-hand smoke. People who never smoked a day in their life have been victims of emphysema, COPD, and lung cancer due to the effects of being around smokers. When e-cigs first hit the market, it seemed that this was a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. However, many of these products still contain nicotine as well as other harmful substances.
E-Cigs are Unsafe for the Younger Set
Unfortunately, many children, teens, and young adults are not aware of the risks involved in using e-cigs and vaping. In Washington, DC, these products are considered tobacco products. Recently, legislation was passed to move the legal age for e-cig use and vaping from 18 up to 21. Many states have taken it upon themselves to make such a move to protect young people from the harmful effects of these products. Nicotine is found in almost all e-cigs.
In addition to this being a highly addictive substance, it can also damage brain development in children, teenagers, and adults into their mid-twenties. Researchers discovered that impulse control, mood, attention, and learning are affected when the young brain is harmed by nicotine use. Another harmful effect is that it may lead to future addiction to other drugs.
E-Cigs and Vaping Affect Oral Health
The tar found in traditional cigarettes is not in e-cigs; however, the nicotine in these devices can still turn teeth yellow and make them look dingy. When the nicotine combines with oxygen molecules, it turns a yellowish color, and this can affect the color of your teeth.
Dingy looking teeth are not the only oral health issue with e-cigs and vaping. Even though it is rare, e-cigs have been known to explode in the mouth. Additionally, the warmer mouth temperature caused by vaping causes changes in the oral environment. The mouth becomes drier than normal and influences the bacterial presence, allowing harmful bacteria to become more prevalent.
Vaping has also been shown to lead to increased dental decay, bone loss, and swollen gums. Inflammation in the mouth can increase vulnerability to infection. In some cases, the drier oral environment has caused a rapid increase in cavities. The nicotine in e-cigs sticks to the teeth causing the surface to become rougher, which provides a welcome substrate for plaque to build up. Gum disease begins with a buildup of plaque. Other colored substances will more readily adhere to the rough surface, also causing the teeth to become discolored.
Safety Concerns Unresolved
While people may think that e-cigs and vaping are safer than regular cigarettes, essentially, they are not. Research is still being performed to find out what the long-term effects are on oral and general health for individuals. For your health and well-being, it is best to refrain from e-cigs and vaping. Keep your oral health at its optimum level with regular dental checkups and professional cleanings.
Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Nishan Halim to check the health of your teeth and gums.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in a comprehensive approach to dental care in his Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. He is committed to helping all his patients maintain a healthy smile. To find out more, schedule an appointment at your convenience.