E-cigarettes and Similar Devices Linked to Increased Caries Risk, Researchers Say – ScienceDaily

A vaping habit may lead to a duller smile and more visits to the dentist.

Research conducted by faculty from the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine found that patients who said they vaped devices were at increased risk of developing cavities. With CDC surveys indicating that 9.1 million American adults — and 2 million teens — use tobacco-based e-cigarette products, that means a lot of vulnerable teeth.

Karina Iroza, assistant professor of holistic care and lead author, says the findings of this study on the relationship between vaping and the risk of caries — the dental term for cavities — serve as a warning that this seemingly harmless habit may be very harmful. on paper. The study was published on November 23 in Journal of the American Dental Association.

Over the past few years, public awareness has increased about the risks of vaping to systemic health – especially after the use of vaping devices has been linked to lung diseases. Some dental research has shown links between e-cigarette use and increased markers of gum disease and, separately, damage to tooth enamel, its outer coating. But relatively little focus has been placed on the intersection between e-cigarette use and oral health, even by dentists, Iroza says.

Irusa says Tufts’ latest discovery may just be a hint at the damage vaping is doing to the mouth. “The extent of the effects on dental health, specifically on tooth decay, is still relatively unknown,” she says. “At this point, I’m just trying to raise awareness” among dentists and patients.

This study, Iroza says, is the first known study specifically to investigate the association between e-cigarettes and e-cigarettes and an increased risk of caries. She and her colleagues analyzed data on more than 13,000 patients over the age of 16 who were treated at dental clinics at Tufts University from 2019 to 2022.

While the vast majority of patients said they did not use vapes, there was a statistically significant difference in levels of caries risk between the e-cigarette/vaping group and the control group, Irusa found. About 79% of vaping patients were classified as having a high caries risk, compared to only about 60% of the control group. Vaping patients were not asked if they used devices containing nicotine or THC, although nicotine is more common.

“It’s important to understand that this is preliminary data,” Erosa says. “It’s not 100% definitive, but people need to be aware of what we’re seeing.” More studies are needed, and Irusa wants to take a closer look at how vaping affects saliva microbiology.

One of the reasons e-cigarette use can contribute to a higher risk of caries is the sugary content and viscosity of vaping liquid, which, when sprayed and then inhaled through the mouth, sticks to teeth. (2018 study published in the journal Plus one The properties of sweet-flavored e-cigarettes have been likened to candy and acidic drinks.) Vaping aerosols has been shown to alter the oral microbiome making it more favorable to cavity-causing bacteria. It has also been noted that vaping seems to stimulate decay in areas where it normally does not occur – such as the lower edges of the front teeth. “It’s aesthetically demanding,” says Irosa.

Tufts University researchers recommend that dentists routinely ask about e-cigarette use as part of a patient’s medical history. This includes pediatric dentists who see teens – according to the FDA/CDC, 7.6% of middle and high school students said they used e-cigarettes in 2021.

The researchers also suggest that patients who use e-cigarettes should be considered for a “stricter caries management protocol,” which could include prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinses, in-clinic fluoride applications, and checkups more than twice a week. the year.

“It takes a lot of investment of time and money to manage tooth decay, depending on how bad it is,” Erosa says. “Once you start a habit, even if you get fillings, as long as you continue, you’re still at risk of secondary decay. It’s a vicious cycle that won’t stop.”

Stephen Eisen of the Tufts University School of Dentistry is lead author on the paper. Full information on the authors and conflicts of interest is available in the published paper.

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Materials Introduction of Tufts University. Original by Helen Ragovin. Note: Content can be modified by style and length.

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