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Vaping and Oral Health: Unveiling the Hidden Risks




              

Vaping and e-cigarettes have been marketed as the “safer” alternative to traditional cigarettes in the last several years. However, vaping has its own unique risks and hazards to oral health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that as of 2022, 2.55 million American middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. In 2021, 4.5% of adults in the United States used e-cigarettes.

                Although labeled as a safer alternative to cigarettes, the chemical composition of the aerosol contains extremely harmful chemicals such as nicotine, heavy metals like lead, formaldehyde, and acrolein. These chemicals can have detrimental effects on oral tissues when inhaled and can lead cellular damage, inflammation, and dry mouth. This in turn can cause serious conditions including COPD, asthma, and lung cancer. In addition, vapers have a higher prevalence of bacterial strains which are linked with periodontal disease. The presence of this bacteria leads to increased inflammation and worsening of periodontal disease, tooth decay, and oral lesions.

                Found in both traditional and electronic cigarettes, nicotine further elevates the risk of oral health issues by constricting blood vessels, reducing blood flow and oxygen to oral tissues. When vaping, 45% of nicotine is deposited into the oral cavity.  This increases the risk of oral cancer because it promotes the growth of cancerous cells and causes cell death in damaged cells.

                Users of e-cigarettes and vapes must be aware of the potential hazard’s associated with vaping and should consider alternative nicotine delivery methods or discontinue use altogether. Keeping regular dental visits and having your oral health monitored by your dental professionals are especially important to those engaging in these harmful habits.

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