In today’s society, the popularity of vaping is widespread. Many people believe e-cigarettes are safer and have fewer health risks—both in regard to oral and overall wellness. This perception has made vaping popular with former smokers and in younger populations. However, studies are now showing that vaping can be just as damaging as conventional smoking.
Consumers commonly believe they are inhaling water vapor while vaping. The reality is much different—consumers inhale an aerosol containing many chemicals, including:
- Propylene glycol: a food additive sweetener.1
- Benzene: a volatile organic compound found in car exhaust and linked to leukemia and bone marrow disease.
- Heavy metals: levels of lead, nickel, chromium and manganese exceed safe limits for inhalation.
- Nicotine: an addictive stimulant.
- Vegetable glycerin and flavorings: a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid for sweetness.2, 3
When the chemical propylene glycol enters the mouth, it bonds with the water molecules in saliva and oral tissue, often causing dry mouth (xerostomia). Dry mouth can lead to cavities and gum issues, including periodontal disease.3 A study by the Journal of Cellular Physiology analyzed the vapor-exposed epithelial cells of the oral cavity under a microscope and found a significant increase in the rate of cell damage and death.4 Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia—who performed the study—stated, “Damage to the defensive barrier in the mouth can increase the risk of infection, inflammation, and gum disease.”4 Nicotine also increases the chance of bone loss, as it decreases connective tissue formation and healing.4
Ultimately, vaping has shown to be just as damaging to oral health as conventional smoking, partially due to the heat element that emits chemical-laden aerosol into the mouth causing dry mouth and inflammation.
For more information about vaping and its impact on oral wellness, we encourage you to contact Cumberland Dental Specialists today to speak with a knowledgeable member of our team.
1 Penn Medicine. “‘Vaping’s Safe!’…Right? 4 Vaping Myths Separated From the Truth”; published July 30, 2019
2 DentistryIQ. “Vaping and oral health: Bringing the facts to patients”; published July 22, 2019
3 Perio-Implant Advisory. “Vaping and oral health : It’s worse than you think”; published January 10, 2019
4 Medical News Today. “E-cigarettes ‘just as harmful as tobacco’ for oral health”; published November 2016