As of today, all 50 states have reported cases of lung injuries due to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,290 people have suffered lung injuries due to vaping since November 20, and 47 deaths have occurred.
From the start, vaping was marketed as an alternative to smoking tobacco. Most of us know that smoking tobacco significantly increases your risk of oral cancer. It also causes a buildup of plaque and an increased risk of gum disease… not to mention causing chronic bad breath! So when vaping was introduced, many smokers thought it would be much better for their health than smoking traditional cigarettes. They were very wrong.
The truth is that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. And it’s not just due to the fact that they can cause a rare type of pneumonia or that they can explode in your mouth. E-cigarettes are unhealthy for your teeth and gums. Think about it this way: E-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid, which is usually nicotine. They then turn it into a vapor for you to inhale. When you heat up your mouth, you essentially dry it out. This creates an environment ripe for harmful bacteria to grow.
Not gross enough? Well, it gets worse. Vaping can cause inflamed gum tissue, cavities, and bone loss. Nicotine has been proven to reduce blood flow. If you don’t have enough blood flowing through your veins, your gums don’t get a healthy amount of nutrients and oxygen. Eventually, vaping causes gum tissue to die, and gums to recede. What you end up with is cavities, tooth sensitivity… and even tooth loss.
Of course, there is also the issue of stained teeth. Even though e-cigarettes don’t contain tar, the nicotine still causes teeth to become discolored. This is because nicotine sticks to enamel and makes it rough, allowing plaque to stick more easily. In a nutshell, vaping is no better for your teeth and gums than regular smoking is.
As you can see, vaping isn’t about inhaling harmless water vapor. Not only does the vapor contain nicotine, but it also contains heavy metals and fine particles of toxic chemicals which are linked to:
- Lung, pancreatic, breast and gastrointestinal cancer
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
Unfortunately, to say that vaping has become increasingly popular over the last several years is an understatement! Youth use of vaping products has risen at the fastest-recorded rate for any substance. Ever. Although e-cigarettes were first marketed to help adults quit smoking, it’s young people who have never smoked cigarettes before who are getting hooked on vaping. Part of this reason is that e-cigarette companies like Juul have marketed the product to attract young people. After all, a Juul e-cigarette looks high-tech, almost like USB flash drive. Not only does it look trendy, but its pods have as much nicotine as 1-2 packs of cigarettes. Interesting fact: Juul contains 3 times the nicotine levels allowed in the European Union, which is why it’s banned there.
There’s no question that vaping can have a negative effect on your teeth, gums, and overall health. If you smoke or vape and need help quitting, speak to your doctor and dentist. If you’re in the Denver area, call 303-984-0307 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chavez. He would be happy to help you!
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