Clearing the Air: The Relationship Between Electronic Cigarette Use, Vaping, and Oral Health

Published 01/04/2023

What are the health risks of vaping?

Although presented as a safer alternative to tobacco, electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is associated with a variety of health risks. A visual report from CareQuest Institute explains the risks related to oral health, including: 

  • Individuals who use e-cigarettes are significantly more likely to report having periodontal (gum) disease compared to those who do not smoke or use other nicotine products.  
  • Oral lesions such as nicotine stomatitis (“smoker’s palate”), hairy tongue (discoloration of the tongue), and angular cheilitis (sores in the corners of the mouth) are commonly seen in the mouths of e-cigarette users.
  • There is growing evidence that individuals who use e-cigarettes are at a higher risk for dental caries (decay). 
  • Although evidence is limited, prolonged use of e-cigarettes may increase the risk of oral cancer.  

Oral Health Professionals and Vaping Cessation 

Oral health professionals have long been involved in encouraging tobacco cessation with their patients. It is similarly important, report authors note, to discuss e-cigarette use as more evidence emerges about the health risks.  

Over the past 15 years, the use of e-cigarettes has increased in the United States, particularly among teenagers. In 2020, approximately 3.6 million adolescents and 9.1 million adults reported e-cigarette use.   

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