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E-cigarettes and oral health: are there any implications?

oral health electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes have ridden the fashion of recent years, effectively replacing the old cigarette, without maintaining the purpose for which they were initially marketed, which is to be a gateway to the possibility of quitting smoking.

How does the electronic cigarette work?

In electronic cigarettes there is no combustion, nicotine is delivered through the chemical vaporization of the elements and not through dry smoke.

The chemical elements that are vaporized inside electronic cigarettes are many:

Dental health: the harm of smoking
  • propylene glycol;
  • humectant glycerin;
  • flavoring agents;
  • heavy metals: nickel and lead;
  • carbonyl compounds: formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein;
  • nicotine.

Electronic cigarettes are used by 35 million people around the world, they are particularly popular in the age group between 18 and 35 years.

The harm of electronic cigarettes to oral health

There has been much discussion, with the spread of the habit of smoking the electronic cigarette, of the potential damage to health. The debate is often centered on possible carcinogenic effects, but the toxic and harmful effects on oral health are forgotten.

When we smoke electronic cigarettes we expose our body to the intake of volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, additives, substances that have negative effects on the health of the nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Investigation of the correlation between e-cigarettes and oral health

A survey was conducted, published in the scientific journal JADA of December 2020, which analyzed the habits of young people on the use of electronic cigarettes and the impact that this use has on oral health.

The sample identified, made up of 168 participants, of which 56 women (33%) and 112 men (67%), with 48% aged between 18 and 24 and 52% between 25 and 34 years, was A questionnaire was administered with 33 questions divided into the following areas of investigation:

  • demographic data;
  • knowledge;
  • current vaping practices;
  • attitudes;
  • willingness to learn;
  • frequency of dental visits.

Results of the survey

50% of the interviewees stated that they have been using the electronic cigarette for more than a year, of these 23% for over 5 years.

57% of the sample identified admitted to having started smoking the electronic cigarette with the aim of quitting smoking.

67% said they make an appointment to have their teeth cleaned 2 or more times a year.

Only half of the participants reported brushing their teeth 2 or more times a day, and only 26% said they floss at least once a day.

Although it emerged from the questionnaire that dental visits are frequent, 83% stated that they did not consider it appropriate to discuss the use of the electronic cigarette with their dentist, ignoring what the effects may be on oral health.

30% of survey respondents were willing to cut down on e-cigarette use and only 24% to quit altogether if they were told about the harm e-cigarettes can do to the body.

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