April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and there is still lots of work to do when it comes to dispelling the myth that vaping isn’t as harmful as smoking.
A team of researchers from the University of California (Study Link) determined that teens who vape, test positive for cancer causing chemicals especially from fruit flavored vaping cartridges.
Doctor Fred Guerra with Guerra Dental in Colorado Springs says, “Vaping is going to cause the same oral effects as tobacco. It can be precancerous and can lead to gum disease. It gives people bad breath, dry mouth and dry mouth increased cavities. While people may think it’s safer for the rest of the body it’s not necessarily, and we also know it has deleterious effects on the mouth.”
Dr. Guerra says all dentists should be on the front lines of oral cancer and early detection, especially in teens and young adults. “Dentists are in such a unique position to counsel our patients on never starting, or if they have started to think about quitting. Dentists can do it in a manner that’s not threatening and not demeaning. We can try to show them that they have control over the effects of some of these devices, so that they can make a rational decision to say ‘ok I need to quit, how can I quit’.”
While there may be some vaping products have no nicotine in them, it can be hard to tell the difference and the bottom line says Dr. Guerra is that it’s still bad for you mouth.
“People that are vaping tend to have more inflamed tissues because remember it’s an irritant, and it’s a constant irritant. I’ve seen some people vaping, and they have a lot of smoke that’s coming out of there.”
If you have any questions about the harmful effects of vaping or smoking and oral cancers follow up with your dentist.