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E-Cigarettes and Oral Health

The e-cigarette. It was first successfully created in 2003 by a pharmacist in Beijing. The reason for such an endeavor was to find a healthy alternative to traditional smoking. The 52-year-old pharmacist, who was also an inventor, created the device after his father, a long-time smoker, died of lung cancer.

According to the CDC, approximately 15% of American adults have used e-cigarettes. In 1997, about 25% of American adults smoked traditional cigarettes. Traditional cigarette smoking has dropped nearly 10%. Of course, the obvious connection is the E.

With the increase of e-cigarette usage, including here in the Houston area, there has been the thought that these are much safer than regular cigarettes, but how true is that thought. A recent study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center indicated that from an oral perspective, the electronic cigarette can be just as detrimental as typical cigarettes.

The study, which was led by Ph.D. professor of Environmental Medicine at the university’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, Irfan Rahman, is the first of its kind to assess the damages and possible repercussions of e-cigarette use from a dental view. The study showed that e-cigarettes, in particular the vapors, can cause cell damage in the mouth, and that some flavors of these vapors can cause worse damage than others. Since these non-traditional cigarettes have nicotine, there is a direct connection to gum disease.


In a report by PBS, a particular problem with these e-cigarettes is that it targets, though indirectly due to its innovativeness, younger adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. Another downside is that it has drawn former traditional cigarette smokers back into smoking, with about 10% of users being former smokers. It has been, however, an alternative to current smokers, which make up about 50% of users. Many of the users have simply made the complete switch from traditional to electronic, which can’t be a bad thing. Well, it can’t be worse at least. Unless, of course, we find out later that it is.

The fact is traditional and electronic cigarette usage is damaging to your oral health and that should be priority when it comes to choosing whether to smoke or not. Our Houston dentists encourage everyone to not smoke due to the overall health problems it creates.

Graphics source: PBS

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