Electronic cigarettes – are they better or worse for your oral health?

Dental Health in Melbourne

Electronic cigarettes, advertised as a healthier way to get a nicotine hit, are quickly becoming a popular alternative. Are they as healthy as they say and what impact do they leave on your teeth?

Over the past couple of decades we have seen a decline in the cigarette smoking population; largely a result of effective education and anti-smoking campaigning. SV Implant Centre Melbourne have noticed that with all the good work being done to curb smoking related illnesses, there are still a large amount of Australians still smoking.

Smokers now usually fall into 3 broad categories:

  1. Smokers who have quit
  2. Smokers who want to quit but can’t kick the addiction
  3. Smokers who have no intention to quit

Electronic cigarettes and hookah pens are being presented to the market as the ‘healthy’ alternative to smoking. Naturally, smokers who want to quit but can’t kick the addiction are taking advantage of this new technology.

Are e-cigarettes healthy?

The short answer is no, the long answer is also no! While the long term effects of e-cigarettes are relatively unknown at this point, here’s what you need to know about this ‘healthy’ alternative.

  • The e-cigarette is powered by a battery that vaporises a liquid tobacco solution located inside the cartridge. The substance that resembles smoke is actually an aerosol created by the heating element known as the atomiser
  • The liquid solution contains a deadly mixture of toxins and chemicals; namely propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, acetaldehyde and other carcinogenic chemicals depending on the manufacturing brand
  • All the chemicals named above have the potential to cause oral cancer
  • E-cigarette consumers are at a higher risk of consuming more toxins and chemicals compared to a normal cigarette
  • E-cigarette consumers absorb a higher level of nicotine due to the higher concentration in the liquid cartridges – making people with an addiction even more dependent on nicotine products
  • The water vaporised nicotine delivery method is not regulated by the government – unlike traditional cigarettes
  • In some instances, researchers have found that some e-cigarettes contain a chemical that is found in anti-freeze
  • Many people who use e-cigarettes don’t know that the nicotine mixture they inhale is in fact full of cancer-causing chemicals.

It’s important to note that nicotine is harmful to your oral health. It’s proven to cause gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, loss of teeth and severe dry mouth. Therefore, no matter what nicotine alternative you try, it will always be damaging your teeth, gums and overall oral health.

The Worrying Conclusion

E-cigarettes were initially introduced to satisfy the need of smokers wanting their hit without the cancer causing effect of the tar entering the mouth and lungs. Many anti-smoking activists believe that it’s doing more harm than good. The newly branded healthy alternative to smoking may entice more people to it, now that the risk of cancer has been eliminated from the equation – when that may not be the case.

Will these new products become socially acceptable as smoking once was in the 50’s and 60’s or will it help wean people off traditional cigarettes en-route to quitting?

Not enough research has been done and not enough time has passed to successfully gather the statistics to prove either way – sadly, we’re simply waiting for the bad news before anything will be done.

SV Implant Centre advise that the best and only way to maintain oral health is to avoid tobacco products altogether. If you are missing teeth due to smoking related damage or want to have your oral heath assessed, make an appointment with SV Implant Centre in Fitzroy Melbourne. 

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