First-ever study shows e-cigarettes cause damage to gum tissue

November 16, 2016

A University of Rochester Medical Center study suggests that electronic cigarettes are as equally damaging to gums and teeth as conventional cigarettes.

The study, published in Oncotarget, was led by Irfan Rahman, Ph.D. professor of Environmental Medicine at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is the first scientific study to address e-cigarettes and their detrimental effect on oral health on cellular and molecular levels.

Electronic cigarettes continue to grow in popularity among younger adults and current and former smokers because they are often perceived as a healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes. Previously, scientists thought that the chemicals found in cigarette smoke were the culprits behind adverse health effects, but a growing body of scientific data, including this study, suggests otherwise.

"We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases," explained Rahman, who last year published a study about the damaging effects of e-cigarette vapors and flavorings on lung cells and an earlier study on the pollution effects. "How much and how often someone is smoking e-cigarettes will determine the extent of damage to the gums and oral cavity."

The study, which exposed 3-D human, non-smoker gum tissue to the vapors of e-cigarettes, also found that the flavoring chemicals play a role in damaging cells in the mouth.

"We learned that the flavorings-some more than others--made the damage to the cells even worse," added Fawad Javed, a post-doctoral resident at Eastman Institute for Oral Health, part of the UR Medical Center, who contributed to the study. "It's important to remember that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is known to contribute to gum disease."

Most e-cigarettes contain a battery, a heating device, and a cartridge to hold liquid, which typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The battery-powered device heats the liquid in the cartridge into an aerosol that the user inhales.

"More research, including long term and comparative studies, are needed to better understand the health effects of e-cigarettes," added Rahman, who would like to see manufacturers disclose all the materials and chemicals used, so consumers can become more educated about potential dangers.
-end-
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Study collaborators include first author Isaac K. Sundar, UR Department of Environmental Medicine, Fawad Javed, Department of General Dentistry, Eastman Institute for Oral Health at UR, Georgios E. Romanos, Department of Periodontology, School of Dental Medicine, Stony Brook University and Irfan Rahman, Department of Environmental Medicine at UR.

The University of Rochester Medical Center is home to approximately 3,000 individuals who conduct research on everything from cancer and heart disease to Parkinson's, pandemic influenza and autism. Spread across many centers, institutes and labs, our scientists have developed therapies that have improved human health locally, in the region and across the globe. To learn more, visit http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/research.

University of Rochester Medical Center

Related Oral Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Use of continuous combined oral contraceptives demonstrates bone health benefits
Women with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) become estrogen deficient at an early age, which makes them more vulnerable to the loss of bone mineral density.

Simple oral health steps help improve elite athletes' performance
Elite athletes who adopted simple oral health measures, such as using high fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between their teeth, reported significantly reduced negative effects on performance related to poor oral health, finds a study led by UCL.

Dental care and oral health under the clouds of COVID-19
DR Clinical & Translational Research has published an invited commentary by researchers at the University of Rochester, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, NY, USA on dental care and the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the provision of dental care and protecting patients and staff during the pandemic.

Behavioral sciences in the promotion of oral health
The importance and value of behavioral sciences in dentistry has long been recognized and over time behavioral sciences have expanded our understanding of oral health beyond 'disease' to a broader biopsychosocial concept of oral health.

Oral health for older adults
Practicing good oral hygiene, using fluoride treatments, and getting regular dental care reduces oral infections and their complications.

As we age, oral health plays increasing role in overall health
The need is evident, say the authors. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that the prevalence of cavities is more than twice as high in older adults than younger adults.

Oral health effects of tobacco products: Science and regulatory policy proceedings
AADR held the 'Oral Health Effects of Tobacco Products: Science and Regulatory Policy' meeting.

Elite athletes have poor oral health despite brushing twice daily
Elite athletes have high rates of oral disease despite brushing their teeth more frequently than most people, finds a new UCL study published in the British Dental Journal.

The Lancet: Big Sugar and neglect by global health community fuel oral health crisis
Oral health has been isolated from traditional healthcare and health policy for too long, despite the major global public health burden of oral diseases, according to a Lancet Series on Oral Health, published today in The Lancet.

Indigenous oral health inequalities begin in childhood: A multi-country study
At the 97th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), held in conjunction with the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Dandara Haag, University of Adelaide, Australia, gave an oral presentation on 'Indigenous Oral Health Inequalities Begin in Childhood: A Multi-country Study.'

Read More: Oral Health News and Oral Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.