Vapes or e-cigarettes are considered an alternative for smokers who want to quit! Though these alternatives cause relatively less damaging effects than smoking regular cigarettes, their impact on oral health cannot be undermined. When someone vapes, they inhale the e-liquid or vaping juice, which contains harmful substances like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and certain carcinogenic chemicals.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the act of using e-cigarettes. An e-cigarette is the electronic version of regular cigarettes built using technology and different ingredients. An e-cigarette has the following key components:
- Replaceable inhaler cartridges contain e-liquid that is heated. The e-liquids are mostly made of polyethylene glycol and nicotine.
- A heating chamber produces heat, turning liquid into gas.
- All vape pens/e-cigarettes have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery used to heat the heating chamber.
Does Vaping Really Lead to Periodontitis?
Recently a group of researchers at NYU College of Dentistry conducted a study highlighting how vapes or e-cigarettes can affect oral health contributing to periodontitis. The researchers studied 84 adults from these groups:
- Regular cigarette smokers
- Vape or e-cigarette smokers
It is observed that regular smokers suffer severe gum disease, followed by people who use e-cigarettes. The research showed how vaping badly affects oral health; vaping results in bacteria build-up, putting a person at the risk of oral inflammation and infection. Additionally, the research found a correlation between distinct microbiomes among vape users and gum disease and changes in the host’s immune system.
Vaping is often associated with different levels of cytokines – the proteins regulating the immune system. It is observed that specific cytokines are associated with an imbalance in the oral bacteria, further worsening oral inflammation, infection and gum disease. Moreover, the study showed that certain bacteria within the mouth of a vape user actively suppress and alter the immune response.
Moreover, vapes contain certain harmful ingredients and pose quite a threat to oral health. The lithium-ion battery used in e-cigarettes is vulnerable to the explosion putting the user at the direct line of risk.