Risks Include Bone Loss, Dental Decay, and “Hairy Tongue”
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®, a leading national nonprofit focused on creating a more accessible, equitable, and integrated oral health system, released a report that points to a variety of oral health risks associated with the use of e-cigarettes, including gum disease, dental decay, bone loss, and hairy tongue.
“The surge in e-cigarette use by teens and adults poses serious risks to their health, including their oral health,” said Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president and CEO at CareQuest Institute. “And dental professionals are not the only ones who can help patients understand the risks vaping has on their health. All medical professionals, counselors, and teachers need to work together to share these important facts about vaping and urge patients to quit before it becomes detrimental to their health.”
The use of e-cigarettes has increased in popularity in the US since 2007, particularly among middle and high school students. In 2020, approximately 3.6 million adolescents and 9.1 million adults reported e-cigarette use.
Some individuals have turned to e-cigarettes as a strategy to stop smoking conventional cigarettes. However, as of June 2022, no e-cigarette products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a tobacco cessation device. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that smokers use alternative smoking cessation options (such as nicotine replacement patches, gum, or lozenges) due to the unknown hazards associated with chemicals in electronic cigarettes.
The visual report calls out the vaping risks related to oral health, including:
- Individuals who use e-cigarettes are significantly more likely to report having periodontal (gum) disease compared to those who do not smoke or use other nicotine products.
- E-cigarette use is linked with signs of periodontal disease such as increased plaque, deeper periodontal pockets around the teeth, and bone loss.
- Oral lesions such as nicotine stomatitis (“smoker’s palate”), hairy tongue (discoloration of the tongue), and angular cheilitis (sores in the corners of the mouth) are commonly seen in the mouths of e-cigarette users.
- There is growing evidence that individuals who use e-cigarettes are at a higher risk for dental caries (decay).
- Although long-term evidence is limited, prolonged use of e-cigarettes may increase the risk of oral cancer.
Click here to access the full report.
About CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health® is a national nonprofit championing a more equitable future where every person can reach their full potential through excellent health. We do this through our work in grantmaking, research, health improvement programs, policy and advocacy, and education as well as our leadership in dental benefits and innovation advancements. We collaborate with thought leaders, health care providers, patients, and local, state, and federal stakeholders, to accelerate oral health care transformation and create a system designed for everyone. To learn more, visit carequest.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
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