Ok, did you know that e-cigarette users do not consider themselves ‘smokers’? We, in the dental field, traditionally ask if you are a smoker, but now we need to start asking a broader question to include e-cigarettes. While e-cigarettes do contain much less harmful substances than cigarettes, they still can be detrimental to your oral health. Additionally, the long term effects on your oral and overall health are widely unstudied long term.
Your dentist wants you to be aware of what is known currently about e-cigarettes and your oral health. The first thing is while they do not contain tobacco, most of them do contain nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. Nicotine can cause gum disease no matter the mechanism that delivers it. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor reducing blood flow, thus gums do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy making you more susceptible to periodontal disease. Also as a vasoconstrictor, nicotine reduces salivary flow which can lead to tooth decay. Changes to oral epithelial cells have been also noted in some studies. Those are pretty major concerns, if you ask me.
So while use of e-cigarettes has been deemed less harmful than cigarette smoking, it is still more harmful than choosing not to use either.