Ask the Dentist: Vaping isn't 'healthy' - that's just smoke and mirrors

There are efforts to present vaping as a 'healthy' alternative to cigarettes. Don't be fooled, says Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care

A new series of studies has shown that vaping gives our gums a battering.
Lucy Stock

ARE you vooping, cloud chasing, skitzin or riding the mist? Well, if you are you are, you belong to the ever-expanding group of 3.3 million people in the UK who are vaping.

Vaping is hailed as the healthier alternative to smoking - but is it really all that snowy white?

It takes a while for studies to analyse the effects on our health and vaping is not looking too chipper for the old gums.

A new series of studies has shown that the gums are taking a battering. One found that the chemicals inhaled when vaping changed the composition of bacteria in our mouths and led to a significant reduction in the height of gum holding the teeth in compared to non-smokers after six months.

So, the E-cigs may not contain tobacco, but they do have nicotine, even the nicotine-free ones.

Yes, the CDC found that 99 per cent of the e-cigarettes sold in America contained nicotine with some products, oopsie doopsie, forgetting to write that ingredient on the label and some of those claiming to have zero nicotine were outed when tested.

The nicotine levels in e-cigs are still exceptionally low compared with normally cigarettes, about 0.3-1.8 per cent, but one electronic cartridge which gives 200-400 puffs actually equates to smoking 2-3 packs of regular cigarettes, so it all mounts up in the body.

Nicotine stunts the blood vessels that feed the gum and messes with the immune system – that's bad.

No blood and poor immune responses mean cells die and on a big scale you notice your gums falling off and teeth dropping out – that's worse.

E-cigs also contain a product called propylene glycol (PG). PG is normally added into foods such as sweeteners and ice cream which sounds dandy, but PG has a special characteristic of attracting and holding onto water molecules.

Good if you wish to dry up a spill but bad for teeth as they love to be immersed in soaking wet saliva full time, it keeps them strong.

Anything that dries out the mouth causes tooth cavities and speeds up gum disease.

So as a wise man once said the path to happy teeth is not peppered with smoke.

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