Ashland, OR – Since their introduction to the market in 2004, electronic cigarettes have seen significantly increased popularity. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that convert nicotine into vapor. Publicized as a “healthier alternative” to regular cigarettes, many users have switched to help them quit smoking. The negative health effects of traditional cigarettes are well-know, but many people are now wondering what risks might be posed by e-cigarettes.
The main issue is electronic cigarettes have not been fully studied. “E-cigarettes are so new that long-term effects of their use are not yet know,” says Ashland dentist Dr. Aron Kivel. “Recent research does show that el- cigarettes can negatively impact oral health due to the presence of nicotine. Another concern is that they aren’t regulated by the FDA. “
The products are sold over the counter and are not subject to the same regulation as actual cigarettes. In fact, the FDA does not regulate them at all. Studies have shown that nicotine, delivered by traditional cigarette or other, does harm to the gums, mouth and tongue.
A report published by the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology stated that nicotine may contribute to the development of gingivitis and periodontitis, which can cause inflammation and bad breath. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows the blood vessels and reduces the amount of blood that can flow. Without proper blood flow, the gums do not get the enough oxygen.
This constricted blood flow can also hide the symptoms of gum disease, making it harder to be diagnosed. When gum disease is present, it’s the increased blood flow to the gums that alerts your dentist or hygienist to the fact. Diseased gums are irritated and typically swell with blood, and when brushed or flossed, they bleed. This false positive caused by nicotine can fool you into thinking that things are going better than they are.
Nicotine can also be detrimental to people who grind their teeth as it is a stimulant. This fires up the muscles, which makes you grind your teeth more intensely. It may even prompt non-grinders to start grinding their teeth.
The vaporizing liquid used in these cigarettes contains dangerous chemicals, restricts vital blood flow and more studies need to be conducted to further study the implications of e-cigarettes. Our final verdict? It is safe to say that the only safe alternative to smoking is quite simply not to smoke at all.