Dentistry Magazine, the leading publication for the dental profession, has presented a balanced overview of the facts and evidence about electronic cigarettes and vaping for the first time. It’s a belated but timely intervention given the recent swirl of false claims that vapes are bad for oral health.
Recent coverage has included ludicrous claims that vape leads to, “your gums falling off and teeth dropping out”. Some ‘experts’ have gone so far as to say that smokers are better off staying with tobacco or returning to cigarettes. Given the workloads on people working in oral health, Dentistry Magazine has printed “an easy-to-read summary” to correct this misinformation.
It points out that people use e-cigarettes to cut down or quit smoking. It says that the evidence “is relatively strong for e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid”, finding that “e-cigarettes are an effective cessation aid, better than nicotine replacement therapy.”
The article tells readers that vaping is supported by:
·The UK Health Security Agency (Public Health England)
·The Royal College of Physicians
·The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
·The Royal College of Midwives, among others
“Introducing any substance into the oral cavity on a regular basis will have effects on this complex environment”, it says, but claims that vaping causes diseases in the mouth can’t be made because there is no evidence to support the allegations.
The important thing to remember, dentists are told, is that everyone accepts that smoking is very bad for the mouth – therefore vaping offers immediate benefits as “e-cigarette aerosol does not contain tar, carbon monoxide or high doses of known carcinogens”.
Continuing, it is pointed out that research attempting to link e-cigarettes to oral problems suffers from weak study designs. It says that this is not pointed out in newspaper articles – nor do they highlight that “nicotine itself is not a risk factor for periodontal disease.” Moreover, such research almost always doesn’t compare e-cig users with smokers.
On claims that vaping causes cavities, “there is very little clinical evidence for this. E-cigarettes do not usually contain sugars as they have burning temperatures lower than the e-cigarette heating element. Devices would become clogged quickly.”
On oral cancer, “tobacco smoke is full of carcinogens from the tar and the burning process. E-cigarettes avoid both of these. Nicotine is not a carcinogen (supported by the use of oral nicotine products for 30-40 years). Hence, this is not currently an area of concern.”
Hopefully all dentists will make it as far as the conclusion, which clearly states: “e-cigarettes have good evidence to support them as an effective smoking cessation aid for tobacco smokers. Smokers can expect to see substantial improvements in their oral health if they fully switch to an e-cigarette.
“In many areas of oral health advice, the messaging we give our patients as dental professionals should be tailored to the individual in front of us. The situation is no different with e-cigarettes.”