Smoking has long been known to cause serious damage to gum and oral health. Smokers are more susceptible to gum diseases, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Additionally, gum disease has been linked to various systemic health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease.
However, while warnings against vaping often focus on its negative effects on the heart and lungs, they rarely mention its impact on oral health. The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) warns that vaping electronic cigarettes can be just as harmful to gum and oral health as traditional tobacco cigarettes. Although research on vaping is still ongoing, evidence already suggests a clear connection between e-cigarettes and poor oral health.
Unlike tobacco smokers who are more aware of the risks to their overall health and gum health, vaping users are often misled to believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful or even safe. However, vaping may be just as detrimental to gum and oral health as smoking.
Nicotine, whether inhaled from smoking or vaping, restricts blood flow to the gums, contributing to the damaging effects. Other chemicals found in e-cigarette vapor, such as formaldehyde, propylene glycol, and benzene, can further exacerbate oral damage, starting with the destruction of the tissues supporting the teeth, known as the periodontium.
Unfortunately, the number of vapers globally is rapidly increasing, particularly among teenagers, young adults, and individuals who have never smoked. The EFP emphasizes that vaping can lead to irreversible damage to the gums and supporting tissues, which can be difficult and expensive to treat.
The EFP advises oral healthcare professionals not to recommend vaping as a transition strategy for tobacco cessation. Instead, professionals should prioritize smoking cessation advice for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes and inform patients about the potential harm of vaping on gum and oral health.
Furthermore, vaping can also harm oral health in numerous other ways, including bad breath, mouth and throat irritation, edema, laryngitis, black tongue, nicotine stomatitis, hairy tongue, toothache, tooth discoloration, cavities, tooth sensitivity and loss, increased risk for cavities, reduced enamel hardness, and heightened cancer risk.
The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) is a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of periodontal science and the importance of gum health among oral health professionals and the public. Founded in 1991, the EFP comprises 38 national periodontal societies and represents over 16,000 periodontists, dentists, researchers, and oral health professionals worldwide. The EFP organizes evidence-based events and campaigns in the field of periodontal and oral health, including EuroPerio, Perio Master Clinic, and Gum Health Day. The organization also publishes scientific journals and offers accredited educational programs in periodontology and implant dentistry.
Overall, the EFP urges oral healthcare professionals to prioritize smoking cessation and provide information on the detrimental effects of vaping on gum and oral health. It is important for individuals, especially young people, to understand the risks associated with vaping and make informed decisions about their oral health.