Vaping Is Better For Your Mouth than Smoking
The problems smoking causes to teeth and gums is widely accepted, from tooth staining to gum disease. New work conducted in Italy finds that vaping instead leads to an improvement in oral health. This is positive news as there are dentists who are ignorant about the benefits of vaping
And, worse, some are spreading negative myths about electronic cigarettes.
Don’t all dentists know the truth about ecigs?
Unfortunately, no. They aren’t alone though, a study released this week showed that doctors, the people we rely on for facts about health, don’t know the truth about nicotine vaping.
Rutgers University showed that far too many doctors, like dentists, confuse ecig use and nicotine with smoking tobacco products. The findings from that study showed that 80% of those surveyed mistakenly “believe it is the nicotine that directly causes cancer.”
“Physicians must understand the actual risk of nicotine use as they are critical in the prescription and recommendation of FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy products to help patients who use other dangerous forms of tobacco,” said Michael B. Steinberg, medical director of the Rutgers Centre for Tobacco Studies and a professor and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Why don’t a lot of dentists and doctors know the facts?
Put simply, they are very busy and rely on soundbites from research – they just don’t have the time to trawl through it all. When you add in that traditional cessation products are approved for prescribing, it is easier to stick with what they know.
What are the kind of things that dentists are told?
One example, from Ohio State University in 2017, contained a brief abstract that spoke about the dangerous toxic metals in eliquid vapour. The research team then linked oral cancers to the fact that their patients were vapers – totally ignoring the fact that before they used electronic cigarettes they had spent a lifetime smoking cigarettes.
The same year saw The Oral Health Foundation in Ireland link e-cigs and e-liquid to the tobacco industry in a conference for dentists, claiming that vaping has the same impact on the mouth as using tobacco. Fortunately, some present contested this and pointed out that nicotine is approved for use in inhalers for 12-year-olds in the United Kingdom.
So, what is this latest research?
The Italian study observed 110 ex-smokers who had switched from tobacco to vaping with nicotine. In particular, they measured any changes in plaque and gum bleeding.
All of the subjects used to be heavy smokers, using around 20 cigarettes per day, and had switched to vaping by using 18mg/ml vape juices. The researchers checked they had successfully quit by testing for carbon monoxide (CO) in breath – ecigs do not produce CO as there is no burning or tobacco.
The team noted that these people reported little to no desire to smoke and a positive improvement in both smell and taste.
“We observed a constant reduction of bacterial plaque on teeth surfaces,” they write. “Appreciable improvements were likewise observed for gingival bleeding”.
They concluded: “In our role of highly experienced physicians in the field of oral medicine, we want to highlight how the switching from combustible to e-cigarette can represent a valid support toward a clear improvement in some specific oral health parameters, leading also to overall benefits toward patients’ wellbeing.”