Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health, but did you also know that it can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and even mouth-cancer? These are just a few of the negative side effects that smoking causes. Smokers are also much more likely to suffer from bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, and staining of the teeth. But switching to tar-free and tobacco-free vaping provides many benefits for oral health, says a new study out of Italy.
Led by Dr. Dr. Marco Tatullo from the Unit of Periodontology and Oral Hygiene of the Calabrodental Clinic in Crotone, the scientists followed a group of over 350 daily smokers who volunteered to switch to e-cigs for a period of 120 days. What the researchers discovered is that switching to vaping not only improves overall oral hygiene by a significant percentage, it also boosts general physical health, too.
The Calabrodental vaping study on oral health
The Tatullo team began by dividing the participants into two primary categories based on their prior histories with smoking. Group One consisted of smokers of less than ten years while those with ten or more years of smoking experience were placed into Group Two. Out of the original 350 members, only 110 completed the 120-day challenge. The others either dropped out or were disqualified for not adhering to the study’s strict scientific protocols.
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At various times throughout the 120-day study, the researchers collected and measured several biomarkers while monitoring for deviations in oral health, either negative or positive. They looked for the onset or progression of plaque levels, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and other oral health conditions. Below is a brief overview of the study’s findings.
- Plaque Index levels
- At the beginning of the program, 85 percent of participants in Group One scored plaque index levels of about 33%. The remaining percentage measured a nearly zero-plaque rating.
- After switching to vaping for 120-days, 92 percent of Group One rated a zero-plaque index score.
- At the beginning of the program, 73 Percent of Group Two fell in the mid-range score of 50% (or “2” on a scale of 1 to 3). The remaining portion scored much higher. None of the Group Two smokers scored a zero-plaque rating.
- After switching to vaping, 87 percent of Group Two rated a zero-plaque index score.
- Bleeding gums
- In the beginning, 61 percent of Group One exhibited signs of bleeding gums when the researchers gently poked them with a dental instrument.
- 65 percent of Group Two showed the same signs.
- By the end of the 120-day study, 92 percent of Group One and 98 percent of Group Two exhibited no signs of gum bleeding under the same conditions.
- General physical health
- Using a standard questionnaire, 71 percent of those surveyed from both groups rated their overall physical health to be “better” or “quite better” after switching to vaping for 120-days.
- 27 percent claimed no significant difference.
- 2 participants claimed that their overall health worsened as they continued to vape.
- 80 percent of people from both groups experienced vast improvements in their senses of smell and taste.
- 78 percent experienced improvements in the respiratory systems and reduced frequencies and symptoms related to respiratory disorders (asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, etc.)
While the survey portion of the Italian study is less scientific in nature than the former biomarker section, the figures are noteworthy. To review the findings in their entirety, the Italian vaping 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).
“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.”
Since periodontal disease is so common in many smokers, the Italian scientists also believe that switching to vaping significantly reduces the health risks associated with tooth loss, mouth cancer, and other potentially fatal diseases. These conclusions are further supported by the volumes of previous research by third-party scientists like Dr. Theodore Puck in the 1940s which indicates that the propylene glycol in e-liquids acts as a natural germicide. When vaporized, PG can kill several forms of mouth bacteria that cause sinus infections, inflammation, and even chronic bad breath.