While this article is based on extensive research, we also wanted the opinion of a few local dentists and medical professionals. Upon conducting several interviews and discussing the topic with the doctors at Pearland Modern Dentistry, Aftco dental, Willamette Dental Beaverton and Aspen Dental OKC. The following is the general opinion.
Oral health awareness is on the rise,say the doctors at Castle Dental. However, we are also seeing a huge increase in high-tech consumer products that lure us into using them, simply because they are “Cool.” This makes it difficult to determine whether a product, beverage or food can harm your oral health or not.
One such product is the e-cigarette. This electronic device has seen a rapid rise in usage in recent years, and after discussing the use of e-cigarettes with the doctors at Pearland Modern Dentistry, we believe the use of e-cigarettes may not be as innocuous as the industry would like us to believe.
What is the Electronic Cigarette?
The e-cigarette, is not a traditional cigarette at all, at least not as we believe suggests the Castle Dental group. It is a small device made to imitate a cigarette. It was first developed as a device to help smokers quit their tobacco smoking habit, but over the years has become trendy among young adults. The e-cigarette produces an aerosol which is incorrectly referred to as a vapor, and users inhale this aerosol made of a solution of diluents, flavorings and nicotine. Smokers use the e-cigarette to get the nicotine they need by drawing it through an atomizer that heats the liquid and produces the aerosol, a process that resembles smoking. This makes the e-cigarette a popular alternative for smoker as the device doesn’t use tobacco and doesn’t contain the tar of cigarettes.
The doctors at Pearland informed us that the e-cigarette can easily seem like a fabulous alternative to regular cigarettes. They do not contain tobacco so users believe they are harmless. However, the medical profesionals at PMD did tell us that while e-cigarette devices don’t contain tobacco, they do have nicotine, and this substance can be harmful to oral health.
“The problem,” say the specialists at Aftco Dental, “is that the use of e-cigarettes has not been fully studied.” There is truth to this statemen as it was in 2014 that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that e-cigarettes needed further studies. So at this point, consumers don’t really know what the potential risks are. Current clinical studies are in progress to understand the impact e-cigarettes can have on health, and until these clinical studies are finished there is a lack of definitive research and conclusive data.
While this may make smoking e-cigarettes seem inoffensive, after all, everyone knows that the FDA is constantly bringing up controversy on all kinds of products, including vitamins. There is a very significant reason why users should stay away from the e-cigarette, even if they do prove to be safer for overall health that the traditional cigarette.
There Are Several Issues of Concern, Say Specialists at Aftco Dental
The medical team at Aftco dental definitely helped clear up our confusion. “You see, when it comes to dental and oral health, the problem is the NICOTINE.” Most people believe nicotine is safe, but it isn’t. “But lets set that fact aside for a moment,” suggests the doctor at Willamette Dental Beaverton. Besides, the problem with whatever quantity of nicotine these devices put out, there is also the issue dealing with the device itself and the quality of the product it emits. The problem with this product is the nicotine and worse, the quality of the product it contains.
The Different Types of E-cigarettes
E-cigarettes can be classified into three generations:
- First generation devices look like traditional cigarettes and are disposable. They have a certain number of “puffs” after which a user simply throws the device away. the problem here is the quality of the device and of the nicotine that the user ingests.
- Second generation devices look like small canisters and are often called tanks. They don’t resemble cigarettes and sometimes even look like pens. They have a small canister that is re-fillable and are rechargeable.
- Third generation devices are more advanced and have varying voltages and allow for different settings and types of nicotine liquids.
“What is in the E-cigarettes,” We Asked the Experts at Aspen Dental
Castle Dental says, “We all know that it is this little device that emits vapor and that there are some harmless, or unstudied ingredients used in the oils of the device. These are carriers or diluents like propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine and flavoring. But most users also choose an e-cigarette with varying levels of nicotine. And while the researchers are still out as to the effect of nicotine on your lungs and other parts of the body, there is no question about nicotine being bad for your oral health.” Everyone at CD believes users should abstain from using the e-cigarette.
After talking to dental experts like those at Aspen Dental, in OKC and Willamette Dental in Beaverton, we can confidently say that e-cigarettes are bad for oral heath, because they cause gum recession and other oral health issues.
“Nicotine Has Negative Effecs on Gum Health,” Say Experts at Aspen Dental
Dental research studies have shown that nicotine—whether delivered via a cigarette or other means, harms the tongue, mouth and gums. The Doctor at WDB showed me a recent report published by the Journal of Periodontology where it showed how nicotine may contribute to the development of gingivitis and periodontitis.
Why Is This Important?
Gingivitis – As stated by the research department at Colgate, is a mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling of the gum tissue. It is the beginning stage of periodontal disease, and dentists may not be able to recognize it in people who use the e-cigarette. And, as the team at aspen dental OKC, reminded us; if gingivitis is not treated promptly it can lead to serious gum disease tooth loss.
Periodontitis – When gingivitis isn’t treated, it usually develops into periodontitis which is an inflammation around the tooth. This causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and create pockets that become infected. The bacterial toxins that are allowed into these pockets starts to break down the bone and connective tissue that holds teeth in place, causing them to fall out, or need to be removed.
Both gingivitis and Periodontitis are also linked to heart disease and diabetes. Other studies show that women with gum disease are also more likely to deliver preterm and low birth weight babies.
Nicotine Causes Gum Disease, But It Also Impacts Other Areas of Your Oral Health
Dental specialists who work frequently with cosmetic teeth covers say that nicotine is one of the worst substances for teeth. Primarily, because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. This means it reduces the blood flow through the body’s veins. Without enough blood flow, your gums do not get the oxygen and vitamins they need to stay healthy. Put simply, Nicotine chokes the gums and tissues in the mouth. There is not enough blood and this causes the gum tissue to die.
“Nicotene Covers Up the Symtoms of Gum Disease,” say experts at AD
Many patients believe that vaping improves their issues with gum disease, say many of the experts dealing with these issues. “But that isn’t necessarily the case.” This is because nicotine can hide symptoms of gum disease and make it hard for your dentist to diagnose correctly.
Under normal circumstances with an increased blood flow, it is the red swollen gums that tip your dentist off to the fact that you suffer from the condition. Gums are irritated and swollen with blood. Patients can tell, they have gum disease because the gums start bleeding when you brush your teeth or floss.
However, when you are taking in nicotine, your gums won’t get red and they won’t bleed because of the lack of blood flow. This fools both your dentist and yourself, say specialists at monarch dental san Antonio. It makes you think you have healthy gums. And if your doctor can’t diagnose the gingivitis, it quickly turns into periodontitis and may result in extensive tooth loss.
Nicotine also Causes Haliotosis (Bad Breath)
Because of its ability to limit blood flow, nicotine also inhibits the body’s ability to produce saliva. A lack of saliva leaves you susceptible to bacteria buildup, dry mouth, bad breath and tooth decay.
Nicotene Intensifies Clenching in People Who Suffer from Bruxism
Nicotine is also a stimulant that intensifies the muscle clenching that makes you grind your teeth if you suffer from teeth clenching. It makes you clench your teeth more intensely, and in some cases, it can make you start grinding your teeth.
Overall, the hazards associated with the e-cigarette are lower compared to smoking a traditional cigarette. Despite this, e-cigarettes are not toys and should be used appropriately; only as an aid to help people who smoke quit a smoking habit.
Using the device shouldn’t become a hobby for teens or for people that simply think the device is cool. There are oral health issues associated with e-cigarettes because they deliver nicotine into the body. And if you use e-cigarettes you need to be aware of the implications; you need to watch out for the signs of gum disease and gum recession. And because nicotine masks the symptoms of gum disease from your doctor, you need to inform him of your use, be extra vigilant and practice gum disease preventative measures like brushing and flossing two to three times a day and make your twice a year visit to the dentist.