Vaping And Periodontal Disease
Switched from smoking to vaping? You may still be at risk of gingivitis and periodontitis.
We have previously written blogs about the harm caused by smoking regular cigarettes and in these we discuss problems like gum disease and oral cancers. Understandably, the conclusions drawn are that smoking is very harmful for your oral health as well as creating other general health issues. Because of this, we always recommend that our Ashby and Burton patients stop smoking.
In these blogs, we have also mentioned vaping and that this is an alternative that many people find it easier to switch to, rather than nicotine patches etc, probably because it also mimics the action of smoking. Whilst vaping has largely been thought to be much safer, we have always said that there was still much research to be carried out and this belief could change. It now seems that vaping may not be as safe as many previously believed.
Is vaping a threat to your health?
According to news coming out of the USA, there are 530 cases of either confirmed or probable lung injury cases caused by vaping, with seven people already dead. In one case, an 18 year old smoker was told by doctors that they had the lungs of a 70 year old! Although most of those hospitalised recover from the immediate problem, there are concerns that the long term implications are not yet known.
The problem is being taken so seriously that India has now banned the sale of e-cigarettes altogether.
Your oral health and vaping
At Alexandra Dental Care, our area of concern is your oral health. We cannot provide general health care advice and if you are concerned about any problems that you feel might have been caused by vaping, then you will need to see your GP. Given that smoking is a well known contributor to gum disease though, it is worth considering, with respect to this particular problem, whether vaping is actually any better. A recent study suggests not.
A two year study was carried out in Korea between 2013 and 2015. The study consisted of around 14,000 people who were equally divided into groups of vapers, smokers, ex smokers and those who have never smoked. For those who wish to read the full ten page report, you can do so here. There are some simple conclusions that were drawn in this report though, which give significant cause for concern to anyone working in dental care.
Unsurprisingly, the level of gum disease was higher in smokers than in non smokers, but one piece of information really stands out. The study found that in both men and women, the rate of periodontal disease was only slightly higher in smokers than in those who vaped. In addition to this, other problems such as toothache and cavities were also higher in these groups.
Should you stop vaping?
If you do currently vape, the one thing that we would say is that you shouldn’t stop if that simply means that you are going to revert to smoking regular cigarettes. There has been so much research done, for so long, that it is indisputable that smoking is extremely dangerous for your overall health as well as a high risk factor for gum disease.
Unless a vaping ban comes into place in the UK, it will largely be down to individuals and policy makers to make the choice about whether to vape or not. There may be many more studies to come, but this one, which used a relatively large group, does seem to indicate that there may be significant risks if you continue to inhale vaping materials.
How to stop smoking
We could write a book on methods that people use to stop smoking. The most effective method will vary from person to person and you may need to try a few different ways before you find one that works for you. Unless you are very strong willed, you will almost certainly need to use a nicotine substitute as this is a highly addictive substance found in smoking and most vaping products. There are several ways of doing this but it might be advisable to have a discussion with your GP who may be able to recommend an appropriate way for you.
Changing other habits can also help you to stop smoking or vaping. If you normally sit down and have a cigarette or e-cigarette after a meal, get into the habit of going for a short walk instead. This may well help to remove the temptation to reach into your pocket for your nicotine hit. Staying active and finding other things to focus on will also help. If, for example, you find that you don’t know what to do with your hands at a time when you would normally smoke or vape, maybe keep a small Sudoku book with you, or even play a game on your ‘phone if it helps to distract you.
The threat posed by gum disease should not be ignored. If, as it seems likely, vaping has negative consequences for your health and increases the risk of periodontal disease, however hard it might be, quitting is by far the best option.
If you live in the Ashby and Burton area and have not had your gum health checked for a while, remember that gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss if not addressed and treated. Please start by booking an appointment with our dental hygienist by calling Alexandra Dental Care on 01283 216347.Google+