Nothing Safe About Vaping
The popularity of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has increased dramatically in recent years. Marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes offer nicotine in a liquid vapor that is inhaled like a cigarette, but without any actual tobacco. Although many people assume they are safe, there is no scientific evidence to support the safety of e-cigarettes. Nicotine, regardless of how it is delivered, can have a detrimental effect on oral health, and it is important that children and teens hear this message.
A survey conducted from 2011 to 2012 found that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students had doubled—from 3.3% to 6.8%. This trend is disturbing, especially at a time when we have not yet fully studied the effects of e-cigarettes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration spoke about this in 2014 saying, “E-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or whether there are any benefits associated with using these products.”
However, we do know the following with some certainty:
- E-cigarette use causes gum recession. Because nicotine reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins, gums may not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Also, the use of nicotine can mask the signs of gum disease, making it more difficult for us to diagnose.
- E-cigarettes cause bad breath. The use of nicotine in any form can reduce your body’s ability to produce saliva, which, in turn, can lead to more bacteria in your mouth and, eventually, tooth decay and bad breath.
- E-cigarettes can increase tooth grinding. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it can intensify tooth-grinding among adults and adolescents.
- Nicotine use during adolescence can negatively impact the developing brain. And because nicotine is a known potentially lethal toxin, ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes can lead to poisoning, which can be fatal.
It is important that adolescents as well as adults understand these risks. If you want us to talk to your teen about the dangers of e-cigarettes, ask Dr. Jared at your child’s next appointment, and he will be happy to discuss this in more detail. We want your child to have a sparkling white smile, along with oral health that will last a lifetime.
Give us a call at 509-891-7070 to schedule today!