Electronic cigarettes (also called vaporizers) have exploded the past few years, with many people abandoning traditional cigarettes for this so-called “healthier” alternative.
While they may be safer than traditional cigarettes, they’re still not safe. Not only do they contain many harmful chemicals, they’re also dangerous for other people. Within the past five years alone, there have been 8,000 cases of children 6 years of age or younger accidentally drinking liquid nicotine. Many nicotine cartridges boast colorful liquids and fun cartoon characters or candies on their packaging, which suggests that e-cig companies may be targeting children.
What Is In E-Cigs?
Many people think that e-cigs are healthy because they don’t contain tar, a harmful ingredient found in traditional cigarettes. While they don’t have tar, e-cigs do contain many other toxins and carcinogens. Some of these toxins include:
- Diethylene glycol (an ingredient found in antifreeze, which is poisonous if consumed)
How Do E-Cigs Affect Your Oral Health?
Tar or not, e-cigs still pose dangerous health effects for your mouth. The nicotine found in e-cigs restricts the blood flow in your mouth, which prevents oxygen and other nutrients from getting into your cheeks and gums. This can cause:
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Dry mouth
- Swelling or irritated gums
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Gum line recession
- Tooth loss
Are E-Cigs Safe?
The bottom line about e-cigs is that they are still being heavily researched, so there’s much we don’t know about them. Yet, with what knowledge we do have, we can say that e-cigs are safer than traditional cigarettes, but still not safe.
If you are an e-cig user, make sure to take extra care of your teeth to prevent gum disease and tooth decay by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Also, make sure to visit your dentist twice a year so they can monitor your oral health.
Parents should talk to their children about e-cigarettes, and if they are users themselves, should make sure to keep them out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion.
To learn more about e-cigarettes, visit the CDC’s website.