In recent years, vaporizers have become increasingly popular. There is no long-term health data on Juul, which is the latest vaporizer craze among teens due to its flavor variety, similar look to a thumb drive, and lack of odor. However, short-term research, shows use of Juul can cause oral and long-term health complications.
What is Juul?
The Juul pod product is heated, inhaled, and sometimes exhaled with the option of re-inhaling the smoke again from the mouthpiece. The scent is unlike tobacco products and not easily detectable, making them even usable during class time without the instructor knowing that they are being used. The vapor can be exhaled into a hoody or a jacket. It is reported that the pods are used throughout the day by many students. Often the device is used in classrooms or restrooms during school hours.
On December 18, 2018, Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a rare advisory—the fourth in 10 years—from his office. “I am officially declaring e-cigarette use [vaping] among youth an epidemic in the United States,” Dr. Adams said.
How does vaping affect you and your teen’s teeth and gums?
Current in vitro research suggests vaping can have a variety of negative effects on your teeth and gums:
- Excess bacteria
One 2018 study found that teeth that had been exposed to e-cigarette aerosol had more bacteria than those that hadn’t. This difference was greater in the pits and crevices of teeth. Excess bacteria are associated with tooth decay, cavities, and gum diseases.
- Dry mouth
Some e-cigarette base liquids, particularly propylene glycol, can cause mouth dryness. Chronic mouth dryness is associated with bad breath, mouth sores, and tooth decay.
- Inflamed gums
One 2016 study suggests e-cig use triggers an inflammatory response in gum tissues. Ongoing gum inflammation is associated with various periodontal diseases.
- Overall irritation
A 2014 review reported that vaping can cause mouth and throat irritation. Gum symptoms may include tenderness, swelling, and redness.
- Cell death
According to a 2018 review, studies of live cells from human gums suggest vaping aerosols can increase inflammation and DNA damage. This can lead cells to lose their power to divide and grow, which can speed up cell aging and result in cell death.
This may play a role in oral health issues such as:
- periodontal diseases
- bone loss
- tooth loss
- dry mouth
- bad breath
- tooth decay
Of course, results from in vitro studies aren’t necessarily generalizable to real-life scenarios, as these cells have been removed from their natural environment. More long-term research is needed to truly understand how vaping-related cell death can affect your overall oral health.