Effect of the e-cigarette on oral health: not commensurate with the deleterious effect of tobacco

Researchers from the School of Dental Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom have carried out a very interesting review of the scientific literature in order to take stock of the effect of electronic cigarettes on the body oral health.

While the deleterious effects of cigarette smoking on the health of teeth and gums are widely documented, the effect of e-cigarettes on oral health has been poorly studied. Tobacco is in fact responsible for permanent inflammation of the oral and gingival areas, leading to periodontitis followed by loosening of the teeth. Biologically, exposure of the mouth to cigarette smoke is highly toxic, in particular inducing dental and gum infections as well as cell death of gum cells. Also, the authors wished to study all the studies carried out on cellular, clinical and epidemiological models.

It emerges from this review of the literature that the studies are not numerous and deserve to be further developed and strengthened. However, it appears that if the e-cigarette modifies the microbiome of the mouth compared to that of a non-smoker or non-vaper, we cannot exclude that it may have some negative effect but without any comparison with the tobacco cigarette. The effect could be more marked for a young vaper who has never smoked. However, quitting smoking and switching to e-cigarettes significantly reduces the risk of periodontitis. In conclusion, another very positive effect of the e-cig in stopping smoking, even though oral health is a public health priority.

Electronic Cigarettes and Oral Health. R. Holliday & coll. Critical Reviews in Oral Biology & Medicine. Journal of Dental Research 1–8. International & American Associations for Dental Research 2021.

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