E-cigarettes have been making waves once again, after the seventh death related to e-cigarettes and vaping was confirmed in America. Here in Australia, the sale of liquid for e-cigarettes that contains nicotine is illegal, which lowers the risk associated with the habit significantly.
But while we’ve all heard stories of friends or acquaintances using e-cigarettes to quit traditional cigarettes, these are anecdotal; to date, there is no empirical evidence that e-cigarettes actually help smokers quit. Plus, e-cigarettes aren’t without their risks; they’re not a perfect or approved alternative to smoking.
If you’re still considering ditching the pack for an e-cigarette, consider the following: while better than smoking, especially if going nicotine-free, e-cigarettes are still bad for your oral health.
What Is in E-cigarettes?
E-cigarette vapor is typically made with a few simple ingredients: glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals. Here in Australia, all legal vapor drops the nicotine, but the other compounds found in e-cigarette vapor can still cause cancers of the mouth and lungs, and that makes them a still-unsafe alternative to cigarettes.
On top of all that, a study by the American Heart Association found that flavourings found in e-cigarettes may even impair blood vessel function.
E-cigarettes and Oral Health
Take the addictive nature of nicotine out of the equation and you’re still putting your oral health at an increased risk if you’re a regular e-cigarette user.
E-cigarettes can increase your risk of suffering from dry mouth, for example. Saliva helps you break down food, cleans the mouth of bacteria, and keeps gums healthy. Without the right amount of saliva, you’re encouraging bacteria to grow and thrive, and gum disease is common for people with chronic dry mouth.
E-cigarettes also increase gum inflammation and other potentially painful ailments in the mouth, and can irritate the mouth and throat. Some research suggests that several of the chemicals found in e-cigarettes can cause inflammation in gum tissue, which has been associated with oral cancer.
How to Maintain Great Oral Health
Now that we’ve discussed the dangers of even nicotine-free e-cigarettes, let’s talk about the ways to keep your mouth healthy and disease- and pain-free.
Naturally, you should be practicing excellent at-home care, which includes brushing twice daily and flossing once each day. Especially if you’re still a traditional or e-cigarette smoker, you should pay close attention to any changes to your oral health, monitoring your gums and ensuring your teeth and gums cleaned regularly to discourage bacteria from festering.
You should also come to visit us at My Hills Dentist for regular dental cleanings every six months. We’ll monitor your oral health and provide a deeper clean than you’re able to achieve at home.
Be Proactive about Your Oral Health
If you’re unhappy with your oral health, if you have tooth discolouration that requires a dental implant, or if you’re ready to quit smoking and need extra support, our expert general and cosmetic dentists can help.
To schedule an appointment for a regular dental cleaning, a discoloured tooth or teeth, or for any general dentistry questions in Baulkham Hills today, please call My Hills Dentist at (02) 9686 7375 or click here.