Former and would-be smokers who opt for electronic cigarettes may not be doing their teeth a whole lot of good, according to a new study.
Research published in the journal Oncotarget, which focuses on cancer-related issues, suggests that electronic cigarette smoke may wreak the same type of havoc on teeth and gums that conventional tobacco does.
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A team of scientists from the University of Rochester and Stony Brook University found that the vapors released in e-cigarettes can cause tissue inflammation and damage comparable to that produces by regular ones.
Furthermore, chemicals used to flavor some e-cigs may cause even more harm to mouth tissue, the researchers say.
Some caveats: This particular experiment was conducted on gum tissue, not live human participants. It's possible that there are other confounding factors that may contribute to gum disease and in e-cig and regular cigarette users alike.
But it's the latest example of scientific skepticism surrounding the health benefits of e-cigarettes. Manufacturers claim that they are an obviously superior alternative to conventional products that contain known carcinogens; but the overall public health ramifications of the products remain unclear, including whether or not they may actually be encouraging more kids to smoke.