Are E-Cigarettes as Safe as the Industry Wishes You To Believe?

As a dentist, my opinion is no.

Without question, smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your health. More than 400,000 Americans die each year from tobacco-related illnesses. Extend the sample size from America to the entire world, and you get a number exceeding 5 million. Nicotine may be the primary culprit behind addiction, but it is far from the most dangerous aspect of smoking. Instead, it is the carcinogens found in cigarettes that cause so many health problems. As a result, electronic cigarettes—products that deliver nicotine without the carcinogens—have been promoted as a healthy substitute. However, there are some real e-cigarette health concerns that everyone should realize.

Nicotine and Dental Health

While nicotine alone doesn’t carry the same the fatal health risks of smoking tobacco, it is irresponsible for electronic cigarette manufacturers to pretend as though their products are without risk. The fact is that nicotine alone is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins. This has an immediate impact on those who already suffer from heart problems, forcing the body’s most vital organ to work harder to deliver oxygen throughout the body. However, it should also be a concern for anyone who wants to keep their teeth and gums healthy and whole. Without sufficient blood flow, the gums do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Periodontal disease is already among the most common illnesses in the United States. By ingesting substances that aggravate or outright cause damage, you’re doing your long-term dental health a grave disservice.

Monitoring Periodontal Disease

If you are considering electronic cigarettes or are already using them, you should be extra vigilant about the health of your teeth and gums.

Here are some of the most common signs of gum disease:

  • Recession – The gums retreat from the teeth.
  • Bleeding and Swelling – These are tell-tale signs of periodontal disease, often ignored by people who believe it is “normal” for your gums to bleed. It isn’t.
  • Bad Breath – If you’re going from smoking cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, your breath will undoubtedly improve. Still, be careful to note any odd smells emanating from your mouth.
  • Loose Teeth – No one with all of their adult teeth should experience loose teeth. See your dentist immediately if you do.

Don’t Fall For the Hype

If you choose to use electronic cigarettes as a method of quitting smoking, make sure you’re well aware of the health risks involved. Yes, almost anyone would agree that these products are superior to cigarettes, but this is only because smoking tobacco is among the very worst things you can do for your health. This fact simply doesn’t make #ecigs a responsible substitute.

Quynh Bui, DMD Redstone Dental, 70 Main Street, Stoneham



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