What is vaping?

Vaping is smoking using an E-cigarette or vape. The device is a rechargeable battery powered vessel which heats liquid to aerosol and is inhaled.

Is vaping safe?

Vaping is not safe, despite what is marketed. The liquid contents are often not published. The chemicals inhaled have been shown to cause cell and gene damage. The final effect is tissue damage and an increase likelihood of cancer.

Secondary exposure from vapours to bystanders are also just as harmful. The chemicals can linger on solid surfaces for minutes to months. The potential of children being exposed to the damaging effects of vaping is real and very concerning.

Misconceptions of vaping.

Vaping is considered a safe alternative to cigarette smoking. This is not true. Unknown chemicals in the liquid causes health problems like lung damage. In the UK, it is often used to help some cigarette smokers quit smoking. But research has shown that the use of Vapes alone is insufficient to quit the habit. Counseling with a professional to alter addictive behavior is necessary.

The use of liquids not containing nicotine is considered a safer alternative. But there are still harmful chemicals in these liquids and aerosols. Some of these include lung irritants which come from the flavouring, chemicals often found in pesticides and disinfectants are also present which cause irritation to the lung and skin.

Research have also shown that liquids which supposedly have no nicotine do contain traces of nicotine. Nicotine is detrimental to the cadiovascular system and brain.

How does vaping affect my oral health?

Vaping can cause teeth and gum problems. Some of the flavouring in the liquids are sugar based. This can lead to an increase in cavities in teeth. There is an increase in biofilm build up on the tooth surface because of the viscosity of the liquid which facilitates and encourages bacterial growth. An increase in bacteria on the tooth surface is one of the main contributors to tooth decay.

The effects of vaping also leads to gum disease. This is caused by an increase in inflammation of the gums. E-cigarette users are twice as likely to have deteriorating gum health compared to a non-smoker.

There are certain heavy metals within the aerosols inhaled which can cause the breakdown on the tooth enamel. The loss of minerals from the enamel leads to weakening of the structure resulting in tooth degradation.

Vaping also affects the bone in the jaws which can create more complications for dental implants. There are cells in bone responsible for making bone. These cells are affected by the chemicals from vaping aerosols which mean bone making is impaired. Bone levels around a dental implant is important because it keeps the support for the crown in the jaw.

The carcinogenic potential of vaping is also another concern associated with the use of E-cigarettes. The chemical contents of the aerosol causes changes to the cells exposed to the vapour. This increases the risks of cell changes which can lead to oral cancer.

There have been reports of significant damage to the mouth and teeth from E-cigarettes overheating or exploding. Damage can involve fractured teeth, dislodged teeth, damage to the facial area from burns.

Is the use of E-cigarettes safe?

E-cigarette use is not safe. The misconception that the liquids used can be fun due to the flavourings and colours devoid of nicotine, is misleading. The lack of transparency in the contents of the liquids and any oversight in standards of manufacture is dangerous. Especially when used by young children.

The effects of vaping in the long term is still to be determined. But the chemical products of vaping is well known to cause damage to the body.

Roland Chong

Roland has over 20 years experience as a general dentist. Roland does all aspects of general dentistry with a special interest in prosthodontics (crown and bridge work) and cosmetic dentistry. A member of the International Team of Implantology, Roland is constantly developing his skills by collaborating with international experts.