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Drs. Otero

The Vaping Epidemic

Probably over the last month, you have become familiar with the word “vaping.” It stretches across our headlines and somehow enters into regular conversations due to the prevalence it holds in our current society. Electronic cigarettes first came on the scene in the 1930’s, but didn’t really take off until a few short years ago. Many remember in the 1960’s how regular cigarettes became popular, but now vaping is our most used mode of tobacco use.

In the early 2000’s when electronic cigarettes started popping up in the United States, it was suspected that vaping was safer than your traditional cigarette. It would also help one kick the habit of having to buy pack after pack of cigarettes. Now it is surveyed that 10.8 million Americans use “e-cigs” and “vape.”

Dental Implications

Being in the dental field, we see the effects tobacco use has on the oral cavity. In comparison between traditional and electronic cigarettes, we see that neither is better for our overall health. Each presents several issues that effect the mouth and the “gateway to the body.” When nicotine enters into the bloodstream through the lungs and mucus membranes of the mouth, vasoconstriction (contraction of blood vessels) occurs. This shuts down blood flow to the teeth and gums among other areas of the body. Over time, oxygen is unable to enter back into the vasoconstricted areas and that is where trouble seems to start.

Side effects to the mouth may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Tooth decay
  • Staining
  • Bone loss
  • Gum tissue conditions (Stomatitis, Keratosis, etc.)
  • Oral cancer

All in all, both traditional and electronic cigarettes pose a great risk to the oral cavity and when you’re ready to quit, we’re here to help! For guidance with tobacco cessation, you can speak to one of our Dental Hygienists at your next dental cleaning or schedule a one-on-one evaluation with Dr. Otero. If you have questions, feel free to call our office at 910-270-9344.