New Study Examines Oral Health Effects of E-cigarettes

People who use e-cigarettes rather than conventional ones may see an improvement in some oral health conditions and a worsening of others. That’s according to a new report on e-cigarette use from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The study committee was chaired by Dr. David L. Eaton, vice provost, dean of graduate programs and professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington.

The consensus study report, titled “Public Health Consequences of E-cigarettes,” reviewed over 800 existing studies of e-cigarettes. It drew a set of evidence-based conclusions related to oral health, exposure to nicotine and toxic substances, dependence and abuse, how “vaping” affects young people, and more.

According to the study, cigarettes increase the likelihood of periodontal disease because the smoke alters the oral microbiota and suppresses the body’s immune response. However, there is some evidence that switching to e-cigarettes improves periodontal disease in smokers. In addition, “other studies comparing and contrasting the dental health of smokers to e-cigarette users suggest that e-cigarette use may be less harmful to oral health than continued smoking,” the report states.

On the other hand, people who use e-cigarettes have a higher incidence of gingivitis. Multiple studies show that the flavorings in e-cigarettes, including menthol, cause direct cell death and DNA damage to epithelial cells. This leads to an overall decline in oral health.

A full copy of the study can be downloaded at
nationalacademies.org.