Medical Research

OncoTarget Published Study Says E-Cigarettes Kill Gum Tissue

Is one of the most popular nicotine replacement tools more dangerous than we thought? According to a research study, published in Oncotarget, e-cigarettes can be a detriment to gum tissue.

Researchers at the University of Rochester have studied the effects of e-cigarettes on oral health. The result: The fumes of an e-cigarette cause cells to emit inflammatory proteins, which in turn trigger stress in cells. This can lead to numerous disorders of the oral cavity. “The extent of damage to the gums depends on how often individuals smoke e-cigarettes and how much they use,” explained Ph.D. professor of Environmental Medicine at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dr. Irfan Rahman.

Not only are the fumes dangerous, but researchers say certain flavors – some more, some less can even damage the cells even more. Dr. Rahman points out, “the e-cigarette is not worry-free fun.” Researchers have found that there are several other dangerous components found in e-cigarette fluids that also damage the lungs. Normally, the lungs can get rid of foreign substances by coughing. Another study shows that the vapors from e-cigarettes diminish the cough reflex.

The oral mucosa is our first line of defense against microbial infections, making it all the more important that the mucous membrane remains intact. Such damage to the protective oral mucosa can have health consequences, like increased risk of mouth infections, and inflammation and gum disease.

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For more than a decade, battery-operated e-cigarettes have been considered by the public a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. Instead of burning tobacco, the evaporators heat a nicotine-containing liquid, that supposedly, do not pollute the air or the body. However, studies have shown that the ingredients are not completely harmless, but rather cell-damaging.

Another study, published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology concludes that after just one day of smoking an e-cigarette for only 15 minutes, the death rate of the oral cells rose fro m a normal 2 percent to 18 percent after vapor exposure. After two days, 40 percent of the mucous membranes were already severely damaged or dead.

Nicotine from tobacco smoke has long been known that it inhibits blood flow to the gums, thereby promoting severe periodontitis. If the e-cigarette contains nicotine, its vapor acts similarly.

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