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Research indicates switching to vaping can substantially improve oral health

For smokers, one of the most uncomfortable conversations is the one that they will surely have when visiting the dentist where a rather embarrassing lecture is sure to follow about the negative consequences of smoking on oral hygiene.  Even visiting a dentist for a simple teeth cleaning brings up terrible memories of smoking’s diabolical relationship with yellowing teeth, bleeding gums, and chronic halitosis or bad breath.

Then there are the dentist's imminent brow-beatings concerning cigarette smoking's negative correlation with periodontal disease, oral cancer, and even tooth loss.  Nevertheless, a new study led by Dr. Marco Tatullo of Italy's Research Institute Tecnologica suggests that transitioning from smoking to vaping can substantially improve both general and oral health within less than four months.

Can switching to vaping from smoking improve oral health?

The Italian research entitled, Crosstalk between oral and general health status in e-smokers is published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NCBI). The team of scientists began by obtaining the aid of some 350 volunteers who agreed to make the switch from smoking to vaping for at least 120 days.

  • The 350 individuals were subdivided into 2 classifications.
  • Group One consisted of smokers of less than 10 years.
  • Group Two included cigarette smokers of greater than ten years.
  • Throughout the 120-day experiment, the researchers scored and assessed numerous biomarkers of oral health for each participant, including:
    • Plaque index levels
    • Instances of bleed gums
    • Other variances in general and oral health
  • Of the original 350 individuals, 110 completed the 120-day trail successfully.
  • 61% of Group One and 65% of Group Two individuals started the study experiencing problems of bleeding gums. Upon completion of the clinical trial, 82% of Group One and 98% of Group Two individuals displayed no indications of bleeding gums whatsoever (when poked gently with an oral instrument).
  • 85% of Group One individuals began the study with plaque index levels between 1 and 3. Upon conclusion of the experiment, 92 percent exhibited plaque scores of zero. Meanwhile, 73% of Group Two participants began the research study with a plaque index level of 2. Upon conclusion of the study, 87% displayed plaque ratings of zero.
  • Using a self-assessment survey, 71% of participants in either category ranked their general health to be "better" or "quite better" after the 120-day trial. 27% of both groups experienced "no change, and 2% declared that their general health had gotten "worse."
  • 80% of all participants experienced improvements in taste and odor.
  • Another 78% reported vast improvements in respiratory and breathing functions.

The co-authors of the Italian study seemingly contradict more recently published research which claims that vaping leads to a possible formation of 'slime cloak' in the oral cavity.  However, unlike the Tatullo-led research, the co-authors of the more controversial study failed to publish comparative results between smokers and vapers – which questions the validity of their published findings.

“In our role of highly experienced physicians in the field of oral medicine,” Tatullo states, “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.”

Related Article:  Study suggests nicotine therapies slow disease progression in MCI patients

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

 

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