ADA Supports NIH Investigation
It is common knowledge that smoking cigarettes is damaging to our health. Mountains of documented research show that smoking cigarettes contributes to poor overall health and the adverse effects dramatically increase oral cancer risks, especially in men. But now e-cigarettes are on the scene and vaping has rapidly increased in popularity. Many people claim they are safer than cigarettes, but are they safe in regards to your oral health?
Traditional cigarettes release a mix of many toxic chemicals from burning tobacco. Since e-cigarettes control the ingredients, they avoid many of these carcinogenic substances, so they are marketed as a “safe” alternative to tobacco products. Since smoking e-cigarettes is a relatively new phenomenon, there is little research available to conclusively prove just how safe or unsafe they really are. Therefore, the dental branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is sponsoring research to investigate the results of smoking e-cigarettes and their effects on teeth, gums and oral tissues.
What’s in an E-Cigarette?
An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that imitates a cigarette. Cartridges generally contain various amounts of nicotine, but avoid the burning tobacco. Propylene glycol is the primary ingredient that creates the vapor when an e-cigarette is “smoked.” Surprisingly, the FDA considers propylene glycol safe for human consumption, despite reports that show it’s side effects likely include throat and mouth irritation. Many chemical additives in e-cigarettes are used to make vaping more enjoyable, tasty and realistic for the user.
Are E-Cigarettes Harmless?
The American Dental Association (ADA) said, “it is ‘virtually impossible’ to justify claims that smokeless tobacco and such newer generation products as electronic cigarettes and hookah tobacco ‘are somehow less harmful to the oral cavity than combustible tobacco products or without other adverse effects.’” Since the e-cigarette and vaping industry have to comply with few regulations and there is little to no quality control mechanisms in place, there are big differences between various manufacturers’ quality and content. Therefore, the National Institute on Drug Abuse stated: “Testing of some e-cigarette products found the vapor to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde), as well as potentially toxic metal nano-particles from the vaporizing mechanism.”
Until research by the NIH and other reputable agencies can make conclusions on the safety of e-cigarettes and vaping, the Sacramento Dentistry Group takes the same position on e-cigarettes as it does with tobacco use. People have the freedom to choose what they put into their bodies, but like tobacco, e-cigarettes contain chemical irritants that have the potential to cause serious harm to users. So, our Sacramento dentists say breathe easier — you are better off not using any kind of smoking or vaping devices!