Many individuals consider electronic cigarettes as a powerful support that can help them quit smoking. Several studies show that electronic cigarettes are as harmless as the traditional cigarettes. Nevertheless, a fresh study suggests that electronic cigarettes can not be safe for oral health.
This study was brought out in the journal PLOS One and it showed that the vapor of the electronic cigarettes has nanoparticles and toxic compounds which destroy the outer layer of skin cells in the mouth.
The researchers – led by Dr. Shen Hu, an associate professor of oral biology at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) – came to their conclusion by analyzing the effects of e-cigarette vapor on cell cultures in laboratory tests.
- The team gathered cell cultures from the top layer of the oral cavity – specifically, the area of the mouth behind the teeth and gums.
Using a machine that generates e-cigarette vapor, effectively simulating human e-cigarette use, the researchers assessed the substances present in the vapor and measured the particle concentration of these substances.
- Additionally, the team exposed the cell cultures to two brands of e-cigarette vapor for 24 hours and monitored the effects.
The Vapor from E-cigarettes Killed 85 % of the Oral Cavity Cells
- The researchers discovered that the vapor consisted of carbon nanoparticles, silica and metal. The concentration depended on the flavor and the brand.
When the researchers assessed the effects that the vapor had on the oral cavity cell cultures they discovered that it reduces the glutathione levels. Glutathione is an important antioxidant and it protects the cells from getting damaged. The vapor from e-cigarettes destroyed about 85 % of the cells.
- Since the cigarette popularity is growing the researchers believed these findings can be significant for human well-being.
In accordance with the CDC, the use of cigarette has doubled between 2011 and 2012 and mainly among scholars of high and middle school.
It Is Necessary to Share the Health Risks with the Public
In order to confirm these findings, researchers need to do studies on humans, but it is clear that e-cigarettes could increase the risk of oral diseases.
- EC [electronic cigarette] creates aerosols that consist of nanoparticles and contain small amount of chemicals that may cause toxicological outcome to human oral cavity.
Considering the increasing popularity of ECs in the general population, there is an urgent need to characterize EC aerosols and assess their biological hazard on oral epithelial cells.
- Based on their findings, the researchers call for health care providers to increase public awareness of the potential health risks e-cigarettes might pose.
The team now plans to conduct human studies that will further assess how e-cigarette use impacts oral health.
A small but significant portion of dental patients at UCLA Dental Clinics have used e-cigarettes, which will provide sufficient patient resources for our planned studies, says Dr. Hu. “Our hope is to develop a screening model to help predict toxicity levels of e-cigarette products, so that consumers are better informed.