Vaping – is it good for your oral health?

vaping and gum diseaseMay this year saw the introduction of the first regulations to control the sale of e cigarettes and liquids. Largely supported by all the major health bodies, the regulations limit the size and strength of e cigarettes tanks as well as banning certain ingredients, including caffeine.

Tobacco smoking is a disaster for oral health

There is a general consensus amongst health professionals that vaping is better than tobacco smoking. Not only is smoking responsible for 80,000 deaths a year in England, it’s a disaster for an individual’s oral health, causing problems from bad breath and bone loss through to mouth cancer. Vaping, however doesn’t come without its own problems.

Firstly, nicotine in the e-cigarettes is highly addictive and encourages habitual behaviour and although it’s not as harmful as the other ingredients in cigarettes it can still cause oral health problems. According to Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, “E-cigarettes may well be a healthier way to access nicotine but it’s not completely problem-free. Nicotine itself limits the blood flow in our mouth’s tissues. Because of this, it seems likely that vapers may be more prone to gum disease. If you are thinking about switching to e-cigarettes or already use them, it is important to be extra attentive to the prevention of gum disease.”

Unknown long-term side effects of vaping

The second problem is that e-cigarettes simply have been around long enough to judge any long-term side effects. Whilst we can be fairly certain that vaping is less harmful generally than smoking there is a nagging concern that it might be storing up future, unpredicted health issues.

A recent report by Action on Smoking and Health established that more than 50% of e-cigarette users had given up smoking regular cigarettes, which has to be encouraging news, combined with the new regulation of the vaping industry. Whilst vaping may not be actually good for your oral health it’s the lesser of two evils if you’re already a smoker and the long-term goal should be to do neither.