Study shows switching to vaping reduces plaque buildup, improves bleeding gums

Study shows switching to vaping reduces plaque buildup, improves bleeding gums

The anti-vaping community spends an enormous amount of time and energy trying to convince the general public that vaping is just as harmful as smoking.   They tend to quote outlandish figures of perceived rises in teen vaping as an excuse to ban flavored vapor products or to severely limit their access. However, they intentionally ignore the well-documented statistics offered by federal public health agencies like the CDC that smoking rates across every demographic in the nation are simultaneously plummeting.

This constant bombardment of facts and figures can be downright confusing for the average person to understand, whether they vape or not.  But a recently published study makes an easy argument that everyone can get behind.  Switching to vaping improves oral health.

Overview of the oral health vaping study

A research team led by Dr. Marco Tatullo from the Unit of Periodontology and Oral Hygiene of the Calabrodental Clinic in Crotone, Italy, asked 350 regular smokers to voluntarily switch to vaping for 120-days.    The researchers looked for changes in “several specific oral parameters” like bleeding gums, plaque building, staining of the teeth, and tooth loss.  They would also be monitoring for possible progression or digression in several forms of periodontal disease, including mouth cancer, gingivitis, and bacterial infections.  The related oral biomarkers were evaluated are regular intervals.

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The 350 participants were chosen based and divided into two classifications based on their prior histories of smoking.  Group 1 was comprised of daily smokers with histories of less than 10-years of combustible tobacco consumption.  Group 2 consisted of participants with smoking histories above the 10-year threshold. 

Participants were not allowed to engage in the smoking of tobacco products during the 120-period when switching to vaping.  They could not even engage in dual use.  Of the original 350 participants, 110 were successful in completing the study.  However, when all was said and done, the Italian scientists uncovered some rather remarkable data.

  • Bleeding gums
    • On Day 1 of the clinical trial, a whopping 61% of Group 1 participants and 65% of Group 2 participants displayed signs of bleeding gums when gently probed with a standard dentist’s instrument.
    • On Day 120, those percentages improved dramatically. Only 2% of Group 1 and 8% of Group 2 showed signs of bleeding gums under the same probative conditions.
  • Plaque Index levels
    • On Day 1 of the clinical trial, 85% of Group 1 participants scored plaque index levels of approximately 33%. Only 15% scored a near-zero rating. 
    • By Day 120, approximately 92% of Group 1 boasted a zero-plaque index score.
    • For Group 2, about 73% scored a mid-range rating of about 50% plaque index on Day 1. The remaining 27% scored even higher.  No one in Group 2 rated a zero-plaque index score at the beginning of the study.
    • After switching to vaping for 120-days, an astonishing 87% of Group 2 participants scored a zero-plaque index rating.

The researchers also presented a questionnaire to all participants in each group at the end of the experiment.  The questions addressed issues related to general physical health (as opposed to oral health).  About 7 in 10 rated their general health either “better” or “quite better.”  About 80% witnessed noticeable differences in the abilities to taste and smell.  And another 78% even claimed to see vast improvements in their respiratory functions.  The complete findings are compiled into a paper entitled Crosstalk between oral and general health status in e-smokers (NCBI). 

“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.”

The dental and medical communities have known for decades that poor oral health is more prevalent in smokers versus non-smokers.  The Italian study is one of the very first to evaluate the effects of daily vaping as compared to smoking.

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(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints, policy or company position of Vapes.com, the rest of our staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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