News around the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and “vaping” is growing. The side effects of e-cigarette liquid damages the teeth, much like sticky candies and sodas. That means in addition to damaging the lungs and heart, electronic cigarette smoking increases the risk of cavities.
E-cigarette smoker can pick from thousands of flavors of “e-liquid” available on the market to vaporize and inhale. These include gummy bear, cotton candy, and peach iced tea. In fact, when the ADA looked at more than 400 available e-liquid brands, they found that “84 percent offered fruit flavors and 80 percent offered candy and dessert flavors.”
What was intended to help adults quit smoking is now attracting a growing number of kids who were not smoking before. In South Dakota, 17% of high school students report using e-cigarettes on a regular basis. 41% of South Dakota high school students have tried e-cigarettes at least once.
The sweet taste of the e-liquid is especially attractive to kids. 85% of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 use flavored e-liquids. And children are already at a higher risk of developing cavities.
Researchers found 2 reasons for their cavity-causing nature. According to the lead on the study, Jeffrey Kim, D.D.S., Ph.D., the “viscosity,” or gumminess, of the e-liquid, and the chemicals that make up the flavor both can cause cavities. It seems only natural that inhaling flavors like cotton candy and gummy bear would impact your teeth just like eating them would. But, e-cigarettes come with a host of other problems that sweets don’t.
The ADA states that “e-cigarettes [impact] on human health goes beyond respiratory and cardiac systems and may have significant implications on oral health.” Researchers found that the aerosol in e-liquid increased bacteria on the enamel by 4 times!
There are also oral health dangers beyond tooth decay. The combination of heat and aerosol liquid can have disastrous outcomes, including exploding in your mouth, causing orofacial trauma. The explosions result in burns and lacerations in the mouth and face, damage to the palate and nasal septum, and dislocation of teeth.
If you’re a concerned adult looking to improve the health of your family, community, or self when it comes to e-cigarettes, review this resource guide about e-cigarettes from the South Dakota Dept. of Health.
If you or someone you love needs help quitting smoking, whether traditional tobacco or e-cigarettes, FREE help is available from the SD QuitLine.