E-cigarettes have become very popular and are readily available on the high street and online. They come in varying sizes and styles and are no longer the false cigarette-shaped device that people only used when no one was looking. It is now a popular and effective alternative to smoking a traditional cigarette, and generally much cheaper. The pivotal attraction being that they are much safer than tobacco cigarettes. White Dental Rooms looks at the impact smoking has on your oral health and how an e-cigarette could help:
Cigarette smoking poses massive health risks not only to the user but the people around them who are also inhaling the smoke. It is a well-known fact that smoking causes serious diseases such as heart attacks and cancer, but smoking is also very bad for your oral health. Cigarettes cause teeth discolouration and bad breath, but more importantly, they can trigger plaque build-up, gum disease and mouth cancer. Smoking attributes to around 5,000 oral cancers in the UK every year. Many cases of mouth cancer are diagnosed too late to be treated successfully, and even when cases do not lead to death it can still affect activities like eating, drinking, speaking and even breathing.
The cause of these unwanted effects come from the chemical contents in a cigarette such as ammonia, carbon monoxide, and acetone that are toxic and leave a residue behind. Smokers are more likely to have an increase in the bacteria in their mouth that causes plaque to form which can lead to gum disease; the most common reason for tooth loss in adults. The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums don’t heal. There are also links between gum disease (periodontal disease) and an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It is therefore highly advisable to quit smoking as soon as possible, and there are many support networks to help you do this.
Although the ultimate safety of e-cigarettes is still unknown, the overall reasoning is that e-cigarettes are much less harmful to your oral health than smoking because they contain no tobacco and do not produce tar and the same substances that coat your teeth the way traditional cigarettes do. Electronic cigarettes produce vapour and not smoke, so they do not contain the same poisonous chemicals that tobacco smoke emits. The liquid that is used in e-cigarettes is made from a mixture of nicotine, distilled water, and flavouring, so the e-cig liquid will not cause teeth discolouration, plaque build-up and bad breath the way traditional cigarettes can. Nicotine can inhibit your ability to produce saliva which can cause bacteria build-up, however, you can choose how much nicotine you have in your e-cigarette and the idea is to reduce the nicotine amount over time before you finally come off all type of smoking whether traditional or vapour. There are no e-cigarettes currently available on prescription, but when medicinally licensed e-cigarette products do become available, doctors and stop smoking services will be able to prescribe them.