Vape vs Cigarettes: Get Your Oral Health Facts

Monday, November 14, 2022
Vape vs Cigarettes: Get Your Oral Health Facts

Today, many people “vape.” Vaping is the use of battery-powered electronic devices (called e-cigarettes or vape pens) that heat liquid into a vapor that can be inhaled. People see vaping as a good substitute for cigarette smoking: it’s a way to get the sensation of smoking without the health dangers, a way to break the habit, and a socially acceptable alternative to smoking cigarettes in public.

But you may be surprised that the latest health studies show using e-cigarettes isn’t without risk. If you or a loved one vape, what should you know about vapes vs cigarettes and the effects both have on your overall and oral health? Penn Dental Family Practice shares the latest facts.

Understanding What the Facts Mean: Vapes vs Cigarettes

1. Is vaping worse than smoking a cigarette?

The fact is:

No, but it’s closer than you think. Although cigarette smoking has long been known to have an overwhelming impact on every part of the body, recent studies show that using e-cigarettes has surprising consequences.

With vaping, you inhale vapor containing nicotine, flavorings, and toxins that can:

  • Cause lung damage
  • Release free radicals into the body, which can promote cancer
  • Deliver dangerous chemicals, including diacetyl, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the body
  • Weaken the immune system
  • Delay brain development in fetuses, children, and teenagers

The CDC is starting to track hospitalizations for lung injury and deaths attributed to vaping (by early 2020, there had been over 2,800 hospitalizations and 68 confirmed deaths), so a clearer picture of its danger is emerging, and warnings are starting to spread.

2. Vaping is not as addictive as cigarettes.

The fact is:

Yes, it can be. E-cigarettes can contain as much or more nicotine, the highly addictive chemical compound in tobacco, as cigarettes. This is because people using vape pens can buy extra cartridges that help them get a bigger kick out of vaping. The nicotine in the vapor travels just as quickly to the brain, whether vaping or smoking.

An unfortunate consequence of this addiction is that experts believe it may lead people to try traditional tobacco products who hadn’t before. This is especially concerning because the CDC recently estimated that more than two million middle and high school students are vaping. It can harm brain development and could move them to try tobacco products.

3. Are there health benefits of vaping vs smoking?

The fact is:

Yes and no. Although there are more health risks to smoking, the leading cause of death, you still face substantial threats with vaping. And, because e-cigarette use is still fairly new, scientists are just starting to discover its long-term health effects.

Regarding the use of e-cigarettes to stop smoking: some research shows that e-cigarettes with nicotine result in greater smoking cessation than using e-cigarettes without it. But it has not been recognized by the FDA as a smoking cessation tool until more long-term usage and health-effect research is done.

4. But without tobacco, isn’t vaping better for oral health?

The fact is:

Not really. Vape and oral health issues are just now starting to surface.

  • Nicotine in e-cigarettes restricts blood flow to the gums and can cause periodontal disease.
  • 43% of people using e-cigarettes had gum disease and oral infections
  • Nicotine can also cause vaping teeth stains.
  • More cavities are being seen in people who vape. This is because e-cigarette aerosols can lead to more bacteria in the mouth (causing gum disease, cavities, and loose teeth) and cause dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath, mouth sores, and tooth decay.
  • Gum disease can lead to other health issues in the body.

Now that you know the facts and understand the similar risks of vape vs cigarettes, it’s clear why it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene and stay on top—or ahead of—any issues.

Good Oral Health Starts at Penn Family Dental Practice

We’re here to help you keep your smile healthy with our broad range of services, including general and cosmetic dentistry, orthodontia, periodontics, endodontics, teeth whitening, prosthodontics, and more. If you or a loved one use e-cigarettes (or traditional cigarettes), it’s even more important to your health to keep your teeth and mouth well cared for to help reduce their impact. Schedule your appointment for a cleaning and examination that could make all the difference.

As a special new patient welcome gift, we have a free Oral-B Electric Toothbrush for you! Just fill out this form and follow the directions to print your coupon to get your gift.

We look forward to seeing you soon.