E-cigarettes are becoming more and more common. They are seen as a healthier alternative to smoking. This is part of the reason why they are gaining popularity.
An e-cigarette works by heating up liquid held within it, turning it into an aerosol that can be breathed in by the person using it. The liquids can be flavoured so there’s more variety than with a standard cigarette. But we don’t know much about the effect these liquids and their flavourings have on the health of our mouths.
Do they do less damage to our mouths than smoking cigarettes? The answer is that we don’t know.
The chemicals from cigarettes restrict blood flow to the lining of your mouth and your gums. This makes smokers more at risk of gum disease. It also means that smokers’ gums do not respond to treatment for gum disease. The disease may just get worse, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Surely, e-cigarettes don’t cause these nasty things? They’re the healthy alternative, aren’t they?
A study done by the University of Rochester, New York in November 2016 suggests otherwise. They looked at the effect of vapours from e-cigarettes on human gum cells. They found that the vapour caused inflammation and stress within the cells. Their conclusion was that this could contribute to gum disease. They also found that the vapour caused damage to the DNA of cells which could cause oral cancer.
This was the first study like this and there are lots of issues with it’s method. My opinion is that there are no firm conclusions that we can draw from this about what e-cigarettes actually do to our mouths.
One thing we do know is that e-cigarettes contain nicotine that is known to contribute to gum disease.
So the truth is that we just don’t know the full effects of using e-cigarettes. They are too new and not enough decent evidence exists at the moment. Sorry