What’s the deal with vaping?

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  Posted by: Dental Design      8th December 2022

Vaping has fast become a habit for large numbers of the population. In fact, new research demonstrates that the use of vapes has reached record levels in Great Britain, with around 4.3 million people regularly using them.[i] Many arguments have been presented for both the use and disuse of vapes – nonetheless, it’s still vital to ensure that patients understand the potential benefits and risks of their habit and are able to protect their health accordingly.

Clear the smoke

The intended purpose of a vape or e-cigarette is to aid smoking cessation. The National Health Service (NHS) suggests their use as a means to stop smoking, [ii] and they are thought to be the most common aid to help smoking cessation in the UK.[iii] The impact of smoking has been researched and studied for decades, and the majority of people are aware of the harm this habit can cause. Vaping can help to curb nicotine cravings, without the risks carried by common cigarette ingredients, such as tar and carbon monoxide. Studies[iv] have supported this claim, noting that e-cigarettes can be an effective way to facilitate smoking cessation.

These products are especially attractive to younger users, with those aged 18- to 24-years-old currently being the biggest consumers in 2022 (11%).i A recent UK-based cohort explored the reasons that young adults vape – they concluded that the intention to quit smoking was the main reason for using e-cigarettes, but curiosity was another leading factor.[v] Problems arise when individuals, especially those younger in years, start using e-cigarettes recreationally.

GOV.UK set out to gather information on vaping and smoking among young people in England – their surveys found that while 58.2% of 16- to 19-year-old participants claimed they didn’t feel addicted to vaping, 38.5% said they felt ‘a little or very addicted’. Moreover, 18.4% of current vapers, aged 11- to 18-years-old, said they experience urges to vape ‘almost all the time or all the time’.[vi] The recreational use of these products in all age groups is concerning, as not only do these products contain nicotine, but the flavoured e-liquids could impact oral health. Researchers noted that the current labelling of vapes does not signify the potential damage that their use could inflict on dental health.[vii] As such, those who use these products might not be aware of the effects that prolonged use can have on their mouth, teeth and gums.

The effects of e-cigarettes

Vaping is a fairly new development and so its associations with poor health have been made tentatively. One of the more current findings has established a link between e-cigarettes and the development of gum disease.[viii] Researchers have found that those who use e-cigarettes have a ‘unique oral microbiome’, one that is less healthy than those who don’t smoke, but possibly healthier than that of conventional smokers.

84 adult participants were split into three groups – e-cigarette users, cigarette users and non-smokers – and they all had some level of gum disease prior to the study. After six months, plaque samples were taken and it was found that clinical attachment loss was worse only in e-cigarette smokers, although the gum disease had worsened for a few participants in each group.

As you well know, clinical attachment loss facilitates an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish, potentially triggering more severe complications. It was also found that flavoured e-liquids used in e-cigarettes are more damaging to oral health than those unflavoured, due to their inhibitory impact on the planktonic growth of oral bacteria.[ix] Further research has supported these findings, adding that the use of e-cigarettes can predispose individuals to the formation of caries.[x]

Adequate protection

Vaping hasn’t reached the heights of infamy that conventional smoking has. Indeed, its role in smoking cessation cannot be ignored and for many individuals, e-cigarettes have demonstrated their efficacy in helping them ditch the habit. With this in mind, it’s still nonetheless important to educate your patients with this habit and offer guidance on how they can best protect their oral cavity from its potential risks.

As the gums are thought to be at a particular risk, it may be worth recommending a toothpaste that is specifically tailored to gum health. The Arm & Hammer 100% Natural Gum Protection toothpaste is clinically proven to not only improve gum health, but to protect and strengthen them, too. With the addition of baking soda and 1450 ppm of fluoride, this solution disperses deep between the teeth and below the gumline, and helps to encourage enamel remineralisation and balances the oral pH. The formula is also vegan-friendly and the carton, tube and cap are 100% recyclable.

The true impact of vaping remains to be seen, but it may be prudent to suggest that its effects aren’t as damaging as those of smoking. Continue to offer your patients advice and guidance, as well as quality product recommendations, to ensure that, regardless of the habit, your patients can enjoy exceptional and well-protected oral health.


For more information about the carefully formulated Arm & Hammer toothpaste range, please visit https://www.armandhammer.co.uk/ or email: ukenquiries@churchdwight.com

Arm & Hammer oral healthcare products can now be purchased from Boots, Amazon, Superdrug, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose & Partners and Ocado.


Author: Margaret Black

Maraget has more than 40 years’ experience in dentistry, qualifying as a dental nurse in 1982 and gaining a Diploma in Dental Hygiene in 1992. She has experience in both NHS and private dental practice and spent time travelling Scotland as a Clinical Hygienist in Dental Research. Presently, Margaret splits her working week between fixed and locum hygienist posts and secured a role as an independent contractor for Church and Dwight in 2019. 


[i] ASH (n.d.). Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain. [online] ASH. Available at: https://ash.org.uk/resources/view/use-of-e-cigarettes-among-adults-in-great-britain-2021 [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022].

[ii] nhs.uk. (2018). Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/using-e-cigarettes-to-stop-smoking/#:~:text=They  [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022].

[iii] Wadsworth, E., Neale, J., McNeill, A. and Hitchman, S. (2016). How and Why Do Smokers Start Using E-Cigarettes? Qualitative Study of Vapers in London, UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 13(7), p.661. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/7/661/htm#B3-ijerph-13-00661 [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022].

[iv] McDermott, M.S., East, K.A., Brose, L.S., McNeill, A., Hitchman, S.C. and Partos, T.R. (2021). The effectiveness of using e‐cigarettes for quitting smoking compared to other cessation methods among adults in the United Kingdom. Addiction. [online] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.15474 [Accessed 1 Sep. 2022].

[v] Khouja, J.N., Taylor, A.E. and Munafò, M.R. (2020). Associations between reasons for vaping and current vaping and smoking status: Evidence from a UK based cohort. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, [online] 217, p.108362. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871620305275 [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022].

[vi] GOV.UK. (n.d.). Vaping in England: 2021 evidence update summary. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaping-in-england-evidence-update-february-2021/vaping-in-england-2021-evidence-update-summary#vaping-among-young-people [Accessed 1 Sep. 2022].

[vii] Fairchild, R. and Setarehnejad, A. (2021). Erosive potential of commonly available vapes: a cause for concern? British Dental Journal, [online] 231(8), pp.487–491. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-021-3563-1 [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022].

[viii] ScienceDaily. (2022). Evidence grows for vaping’s role in gum disease: Research confirms unique community of bacteria and immune responses among people who use e-cigarettes. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220222151907.htm [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022].

[ix] Fischman, J.S., Sista, S., Lee, D.K., Cuadra, G.A. and Palazzolo, D.L. (2020). Flavorless vs. Flavored Electronic Cigarette-Generated Aerosol and E-Liquid on the Growth of Common Oral Commensal Streptococci. Frontiers. [online] Available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.585416/full [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022].

[x] Mohd Hasan, N.W., Baharin, B. and Mohd, N. (2022). Electronic Cigarette Vapour and the Impacts on Oral Health: A Review. Archives of Orofacial Sciences, 17(Supp. 1), pp.1–9. doi:10.21315/aos2022.17s1.rv01.

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