Are e-cigarettes bad for your mouth?

If your New Year’s resolution is to stop smoking, you might be wondering how good or bad e-cigarettes are for your mouth. We explore the research to date.

Congratulations – you’ve decided to kick the habit and we are behind you every step of the way! After all, smoking doesn’t just cause yellow stains on your teeth, it also raises your chances of developing mouth cancer.

But if you’ve just decided to take the plunge, chances are you’re weaning yourself off with quitting aids such as e-cigarettes. Around 2.8 million adults in Great Britain use vaping pens, but do they pose any risks for your teeth, gums and mouth?

E-cigarettes: the potential to save lives

As e-cigarettes are a relatively new invention, few studies have been done to effectively prove how much damage they do or don’t cause. However, on the plus side, estimates suggest that approximately 6000 lives could be saved each year by using them instead of being lost to the dangers of smoking tobacco cigarettes.

What’s so bad about cigarettes?

When tobacco is burnt in a cigarette, the smoke given off contains between around 10,000 and 100,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to be carcinogens. By cutting out tobacco, smokers can help to drastically prevent diseases such as mouth cancer, lung cancer, and other oral diseases such as gingivitis (or gum disease), periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Are e-cigarettes better for your mouth?

Research is lacking, but what we do know is that while e-cigarette vapours do contain toxins, they are not necessarily carcinogens and are nevertheless present in much lower levels than in tobacco smoke.

Cons of e-cigarettes

However, although the point of vaping is that it involves water vapour and not harmful tobacco – it still relies on chemical substitutes and flavourings. The long-term effects of using these are not yet known.

What’s more, e-cigarettes are inserted directly into the oral cavity when they are at their hottest. That means if there are any dangers posed by these chemicals or indeed nicotine, there is the potential for these to be deeply absorbed into the tissue. Only significant trials over the coming years will be able to determine if there are any health dangers from this.

Are e-cigarettes safe to use?

There’s no concrete evidence that tells us e-cigarettes are completely safe, just as there is very little evidence that they are unsafe.

As dentists, we think they are a very effective way to stop smoking. However, since they still contain addictive nicotine, we recommend using vaping pens as a transitional aid to quitting permanently rather than a long-term substitute, which could eventually lead you back to cigarettes.

Keep in touch!

How are you getting on with your New Year’s resolution to quit smoking? Take a look at our recent blog post for tips on how to succeed. You can also let us know by tweeting us using @Number18Dental or when you book your next appointment.

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