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E-Cigarettes Chemicals Increase Gum Disease & Oral Cancer Risks

  • November 14, 2018

We’re gearing up for the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17. Are you?

Not only is it a great opportunity to kick the smoking habit as we head into the holidays, this annual event is the perfect time to drop some knowledge on you regarding e-cigarettes.

For all of the “advantages” e-cigarette makers like to tout in their products, there is one truth that cannot be escaped: As long as there is nicotine in the vaping liquids used in e-cigarettes, you’re still at a higher risk for developing gum disease. That’s because nicotine significantly reduces blood flow, which restricts the supply of nutrients and oxygen to your soft tissue in your mouth.

A recent study also found that e-cigarette use may modify the DNA in the oral cells, which could increase cancer risk, according to the American Chemical Society.

The first e-cigarettes study showing that e-cigarettes damage gum tissue was published in 2016. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases,” said the study’s lead researcher, Irfan Rahman, professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Researchers used human gum tissue from nonsmokers for the study. They exposed the tissue to e-cigarette vapors and also found that the chemicals used to flavor vaping liquids play a role in damaging cells in the mouth, according to the University of Rochester website.

Experts at the University of California Los Angeles found that the toxic substances and nanoparticles contained in e-cigarettes could kill the top layer of cells in the mouth and gums, according to a Daily Mail article. Another team at Université Laval in Canada found that gum tissue cells appear to mutate when they come into contact with e-cigarette vapor.

There about 10.8 million American adults who use e-cigarettes, according to a 2018 report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

That number is on the rise, Prevention magazine recently reported, and experts suspect that may be due to the belief that they’re safer than smoking.

Treating Gum Disease

In addition to offering smoking cessation programs in our office, Dr. David DiGiallorenzo and Dr. Henry Hsu also offer one of the most effective, pain-free treatments for gum disease that is available today: LANAP. An abbreviation for laser-assisted new attachment procedure, this is a more successful treatment to conventional gum surgery.

LANAP enables Drs. DiGiallorenzo and Hsu to use a laser to remove the toxins and damaged tissue from beneath the gum line, which kickstarts the body’s ability to regenerate healthy tissue. The result is healthier gums that attached to teeth more securely.

If you’re a smoker who has gum disease, the best thing you can do is to stop smoking and seek treatment from a periodontist to get your gum disease under control. Gum disease cannot be cured, but it can be maintained. Please call today if you would like to schedule a consultation.