The use of e-cigarettes (vaping) may be equally or MORE dangerous to oral health than traditional tobacco use. Vaping works by heating a liquid so that an aerosol is generated which the user inhales. That liquid, known as e-liquid, is usually made up of propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, water and nicotine.
Propylene glycol (PG): The breakdown products of propylene glycol in the mouth include acetic acid, lactic acid, and propionaldehyde, which are all toxic to enamel and oral soft tissues. In addition, PG binds to water molecules in saliva and oral tissues leading to Xerostomia (“dry mouth”). Dry Mouth has long been shown to lead to an increase in cavities, gum disease, bad breath and other oral issues.
Vegetable glycerin and flavorings: A major component of e-liquid, glycerin combined with flavorings produces a four-fold increase in bacterial adhesion to enamel and a two-fold increase in biofilm formation. A 27% decrease in enamel hardness occurred in studies where glycerin and flavorings were vaped. In short, vaping e-liquid allows more bacteria to stick to softer tooth and can lead to rampant decay.
Nicotine: Although the percentage of nicotine is much lower (0.3% - 1.8%) than traditional tobacco products, one electronic cartridge (200-400 puffs) can equal the smoking of two to three packs of regular cigarettes. Nicotine restricts blood flow in the mouth, affects cytokine production and neutrophil, and other immune cell function, all of which help us fight periodontal (gum disease), an infectious process. The result is a much higher chance of developing gum disease and tooth loss.
Once promoted as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products, Vaping can be just as dangerous if not more dangerous than smoking traditional cigarettes