The pandemic definitely put a damper on everyone’s 2020 and 2021, but some good news did come out of it – statistics show that COVID-19 actually lowered rates of vaping and drinking among young adults.
A new survey, conducted by the American Dental Association indicates that two-thirds of teens and young adults have reduced their use of e-cigarettes, or quit altogether, during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, researchers go on to say that the reduction is mainly due to limited access to stores where young adults were able to buy vaping products. Some positive news of note – time at home allowed young adults to learn more about the dangers of vaping and increased awareness about the importance of quitting.
When it comes to oral health, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), nicotine, whether smoked or vaped, restricts blood flow to the gums, which can contribute to periodontal disease. The fluid in e-cigarettes, which can include propylene glycol, benzene, formaldehyde and other chemicals, only increases the risks.
The AHA also shares that a study published earlier this year in the journal iScience showed that 43% of people using e-cigarettes had gum disease and oral infections. That figure was higher among smokers – 73% – but only 28% among people who neither smoked nor vaped. Additional potential issues range from inflammation and tooth cavities to loss of bone that anchors teeth to the jaw, called periodontitis, and oral cancer.
Yet another study published in May in Science Advances concluded the oral microbiome – the vast collection of friendly bacteria, viruses and other microbes that live in the mouth – of e-cigarette users without gum disease looked a lot like the microbiome of people with periodontitis.
Oral Health and Heart Health are closely related. Two preliminary studies presented in February at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference linked gum disease with a higher rate of strokes caused by hardening of large arteries in the brain and also with severe artery blockages. A 2018 study in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension found that gum disease appears to worsen high blood pressure and interferes with medications to treat hypertension.
So, when it comes to teen vaping, find tools to help your child quit. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention share great resources for helping your child stop their addiction as well as how parents can help in the process. Learn more here: CDC Resources on Teen Vaping.
Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is led by top-rated pediatric dentists with locations in Birmingham, Cullman, Medplex-Hoover, Oxford and Pell City. Our vision is to be the premier provider of pediatric dental services in Alabama. Beautiful smiles are our specialty!