Is vaping safer than smoking?
Vaping is marketed as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes because it contains less nicotine. However, it may still be just as harmful to teeth.
What is vaping?
E-cigarettes (vaping) work by heating a liquid to generate vapour that the user inhales.
What is inside e-cigarettes?
They consist of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin, flayourings and nicotine.
PG is a viscous, colourless liquid that has a faint sweet taste. It breaks down into acetic acid, lactic acid and propionaldehyde which are all harmful to enamel. PG can also cause dry mouth and increases the risk of cavities and tooth decay.
Vegetable glycerin is used widely in medical, pharmaceutical, personal and catering industries. It is also a viscous, colourless liquid with a mild sweet taste. When combined with flavourings, it adheres to tooth enamel and encourages cavity causing bacteria to attack tooth enamel.
Lastly, while there is less nicotine in e-cigarettes, smoking one cartridge (200-400 puffs) can be the same as smoking a couple of packs of regular cigarettes. Therefore, vaping carries all the same health risks as traditional tobacco products such as cardiovascular disease and oral diseases.
Is vaping a safe alternative?
No. Even though vaping is promoted as a safe alternative, the components of e-cigarettes are harmful to your oral health. Flavourings also make vaping more appealing and may encourage higher usage. Symptoms of dry mouth can also lead users to increase consumption of sugary drinks such as sodas which also cause tooth decay.
Some smokers have found vaping helps them to quit traditional tobacco products. However, research shows that long term use is just as harmful as smoking. Health professionals are already treating decay, cavities and gum disease caused by vaping. They are concerned that this will only increase if vaping continues to be promoted as a safe product.