New research sends a clear message to individuals who care about their teeth, that smoking and vaping are detrimental to your teeth and gums.
The National Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) issued the warning that smoking and vaping are detrimental to oral health. Scientists examined many years of monitoring data that looked at correlations between smoking/vaping and poor dental health among thousands of American men and women. The basic line is that those who smoke and use electronic cigarettes (vapes), cigars, pipes, hookahs, and/or smokeless tobacco are at a significantly increased risk of developing dental problems.
“We’ve always known that smoking raises your risk of gum disease,” said Dr. Purnima Kumar, a representative for the American Dental Association.
Despite not being a member of the study team, Kumar emphasized that the new research verifies a widespread issue.
Impact of smoking & vaping on oral health:
Depending on the type of tobacco used, this includes a greatly increased risk of six distinct types of dental problems, including gum disease, precancerous oral lesions, bone loss around the teeth, loose teeth, and/or tooth loss due to tooth decay or gum disease.
Furthermore, vaping, which is commonly seen as a less harmful type of tobacco use, was connected to a 27% increased risk of bleeding after brushing or flossing.
Marushka Silveira, an epidemiologist of the NIDCR, led the study. Silveira and her colleagues examined three to five years of yearly monitoring data gathered from 2013 to 2019. The six dental problems were seen in around 10,000 to 16,000 men and women.
Around 16% to 19% of them smoked cigarettes regularly, whereas 2% to 3% smoked cigars or used smokeless tobacco.
However, the researchers focused on the 2% to 3% of those who vaped daily.
In the end, smoking was associated with a 33% increased risk of gum disease. Also, a 35% increased risk of loose teeth, and a 43% increased chance of tooth loss was detected. In addition, cigar usage was associated with more than doubling the risk of precancerous oral lesions.
Vaping more harmful than smoking:
Nonetheless, vapers had a considerably increased risk of gum bleeding after flossing/brushing.
This is because this study verifies that vaping may be worse for your oral health than smoking.
The study leader stated that her concern stems from her previous studies on the influence of vaping on the bacteria that dwell in everyone’s mouth. This habitat is known to researchers as “the biofilm.” They discovered that the microorganisms in our mouth treat vape exposure as if it were a food group.
That is, when vape items enter the mouth, the nicotine, heat, and other chemical substances present are rapidly broken down by this bacteria. This practice is akin to subjecting your teeth and gums to a daily supersized McDonald’s meal. So, over time, it appears that a slime layer is added to your biofilm. This making it ‘gunkier,’ to use a technical phrase. This results in inflammation.
The dental health of people vapers was compared to smokers. They discovered that the amount of inflammation among vapers was comparable to that of long time smokers, even though vapers had far less time exposure to tobacco. As a result, it appears that vapers reach the threshold of bacterial destruction significantly faster.
Research take away:
The researchers emphasized that it is unclear whether or not this all translates into substantial tooth harm among vapers. They highlighted, for example, that the vast majority of vapers are ex-smokers. They also stated that the higher risk of gum bleeding among vapers might be related to quitting smoking.
However, the researchers cautioned that such bleeding might be an early warning sign of undiagnosed dental issues.
More research will be needed to track such long-term danger.