New e-cig study: Is vaping good or bad for the teeth and gums?
Dentists know that smoking can lead to gum disease, yellow teeth, tooth loss, bleeding gums, gingivitis, and increased risks of mouth cancer, but will switching to vaping be any better? That is the question that scientists from the Unit of Periodontology and Oral Hygiene of Calabrodental Clinic in Crotone Italy are trying to determine.
The research team led by Dr. Marco Tatullo began by randomly selecting a group of 350 smokers who agreed to switch to vaping for a period of 120 days. 110 pf the participants were then recategorized into two groups with differing criteria. What the researchers discovered is that switching to vaping has a “positive impact” on both periodontal and overall health.
Overview of the Italian e-cig study
The e-cig study entitled Crosstalk between oral and general health status in e-smokers is published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI). The primary biomarkers being measured and evaluated included plaque index levels, bleeding of the gums, and deviations in oral and general health.
- Group One contained individuals who had been smoking for less than ten years.
- Group Two contained individuals who had been smoking for greater than ten years.
- Of the original 350 participants, 110 smokers made the final selection process.
- The scientists then conducted oral examinations on each volunteer at the beginning, end, and 60-day milestones.
- Regarding plaque index levels:
- At the beginning of the e-cig study, 85 percent of Group One exhibited a plaque index score of 1 out of 3. 15 participants registered almost no plaque whatsoever.
- Meanwhile, 73 percent of Group Two rated a plaque index of 2, with zero participants rating a zero-plaque score.
- At the end of the study, 92 percent of Group One and 87 percent of Group Two registered plaque scores of zero.
- Regarding bleeding of the gums:
- At the beginning of the e-cig study, 61 percent of Group One experienced bleeding of the gums when prodded by a dental instrument compared to 65 percent of participants in Group Two.
- After the 120-day study, 92 percent of Group One and 98 percent of Group Two experienced no bleeding of the gums when prodded with the same instrument.
- Using a self-assessment questionnaire, 71 percent of the participants rated their general health status as “better” or “quite better” at the end of the study.
- 30 out of 110 claimed to have experienced no significant change while 2 subjects claimed a worsening of overall health.
- 80 percent of participants from both groups also reported significant improvements in taste and smell.
- 78 percent also conveyed a reduced frequency in symptoms of respiratory ailments.
“In our role of highly experienced physicians in the field of oral medicine, we want to highlight how the switching from combustible to e-cigarette can represent a valid support toward a clear improvement in some specific oral health parameters, leading also to overall benefits toward patients’ wellbeing.”
Another unexpected benefit noted by the Italian scientists suggests a decreased desire to smoke when switching to vaping. On average, the participants essentially admitted to vaping less frequently than they would traditionally smoke cigarettes.