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How Electronic Cigarettes Affect Dental Health

Tobacco use creates many dental issues ranging from tooth staining, heavy plaque, periodontal disease, implant and surgical failures, tooth loss, and oral cancer. This has been established with scientific research over the years proving tobacco products to be harmful to the oral cavity. Many people, especially teenagers, have started using or switched to electronic cigarettes as a "healthier" alternative to tobacco products. What are electronic cigarettes and how do they affect your oral health?

Electronic cigarettes, or vapes, are electronic devices varying in shapes and sizes, that create aerosol puffs for the user to inhale. It is often rechargeable and uses cartridges of liquid nicotine. The cartridges can contain flavoring/scent, nicotine or marijuana concentrate, or neither chemical.

It is still a public health debate whether electronic cigarettes is beneficial to society. According to the California Dental Association Journal, "using an e-cigarette is almost certainly less dangerous than smoking a cigarette." E-cigarettes do not create many toxins and carcinogens caused by the combustion of tobacco. There is still a small potentially "biologically relevant" harm from silicate and heavy metal particles generated from heating the components of the e-cigarette device. It is beneficial for tobacco smokers to switch to e-cigarettes as this reduces their intake of carcinogens, but "nicotine uptake" by nonsmokers may introduce youths to the smoking world, a turn for the worse. The aerosol is not harmful according to the U.S. general surgeon, but the nicotine in it may cause a gateway to future tobacco addiction. E-cigarette usage by adolescences is a high-risk indicator for future smoking.

To learn more about how e-cigarettes may affect your dental health, please call us as 626-461-5659 to discuss with a oral healthcare professional.

Reference: California Dental Association Journal 2019

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