Using electronic cigarettes, also called vaping, has exploded over the past few years. Many people believe that e-cigs are a healthier alternative to cigarettes, and while they don’t contain some of the harmful ingredients that traditional cigarettes have (like tar), they are still packed with dangerous toxins and carcinogens.
There have also been over 8,000 cases of children aged 6 or younger actually mistakenly drinking liquid nicotine over the past 5 years. Because many nicotine cartridges are colorful or depict cartoon characters or candies, it has been suggested that these e-cig companies are actually targeting children.
What Is In E-Cigs?
While e-cigs don’t contain tar and have lower levels of toxins than traditional cigarettes, they still contain many harmful ingredients. These include:
- Diethylene glycol
According to the FDA, many of these ingredients are carcinogenic. For instance, diethylene glycol is actually used in antifreeze, which is heavily toxic.
How Do E-Cigs Affect Oral Health?
While tar is typically the cause of many cigarette-related lung issues, the nicotine that is still present in e-cigs can cause many oral health-related complications. Nicotine reduces blood flow, which inhibits the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your gums and cheeks. This lowered blood supply can cause many undesirable conditions, including:
- Bad breath
- Swelling gums
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Dry mouth
- Irritated gums
- Tooth loss
- Gum tissue recession
Are E-Cigs Safe?
Unfortunately, e-cigs are still being heavily studied, so there is a lot we don’t yet know about them. While it is reasonable to say that they may be safer than traditional tobacco, that doesn’t mean that they’re safe.
If you do smoke e-cigs, you should understand the many risks they can cause for your oral health. Make sure to give your teeth extra love by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, avoiding sugary foods, and visiting your dentist twice a year.
Parents should also make sure to discuss e-cigarettes with their kids and express the potential harm they cause.
For even more information on e-cigs, visit the CDC’s website.