Study Reveals E-cigarettes Pose Significantly Lower Oral Health Risks Compared to Traditional Cigarettes

Qilu University of Technology Research Confirms: E-cigarettes Have Far Less Impact on Oral Health than Traditional Cigarettes

E-cigarettes Have Far Less Impact on Oral Health than Traditional Cigarettes

On March 15th, the latest research from Qilu University of Technology (Shandong Academy of Sciences) showed that compared to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes cause less harm to the oral health of smokers and are less likely to trigger periodontal-related oral diseases. People exposed to cigarette smoke have significantly reduced gum epithelial cell activity, while e-cigarette aerosols show no significant effect on cell activity.

The study was conducted by the research group of Associate Professor Su Le of Qilu University of Technology and published in the SCI journal “ACS Omega” under the American Chemical Society.

Researchers compared the effects of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes on human gum epithelial cell survival rate, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and inflammatory factor levels. The study found that at the same nicotine concentration, the apoptosis rate of human gum epithelial cells exposed to traditional cigarette smoke condensate was 26.97%, 2.15 times that of e-cigarettes.

Traditional cigarettes significantly increase the levels of ROS in cells, while e-cigarette aerosol condensate at the same nicotine concentration does not cause an increase in ROS levels. Meanwhile, exposure to traditional cigarette smoke leads to a significant increase in inflammatory factor levels, while e-cigarette aerosol condensate at the same nicotine concentration has no effect on cellular inflammatory factor levels. Increased levels of ROS and inflammatory factors can induce cell apoptosis.

Su Le, Associate Professor at Qilu University of Technology and the principal investigator of the study, explained that gum epithelial cells are the first natural barrier of periodontal tissues and play an important role in oral health. The results show that compared to e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes are more likely to cause inflammatory responses in cells, increase intracellular ROS levels, and potentially trigger oral tissue damage and periodontitis.

It is understood that previous studies have already found that the risk of periodontal disease in e-cigarette users is much lower than in traditional cigarette users.

In 2022, the Royal Cornwall Hospital in the UK and the College of Dental Medicine at Qatar University jointly published an article in “Nature” magazine stating that compared to non-smokers and e-cigarette users, traditional cigarette smokers have significantly higher periodontal PD (probing depth) and PI (plaque index) levels. The article pointed out that for people with periodontal health risks, using e-cigarettes as a substitute for traditional cigarettes is safer.

In 2021, a research paper published in the authoritative medical SCI journal “Journal of Dental Research” stated that e-cigarettes have a smaller impact on the oral health environment than traditional cigarettes. Dentists should pay attention to the harm reduction effects of e-cigarettes and support traditional cigarette users with oral diseases to switch to e-cigarettes.

“This study once again confirms that e-cigarettes have less toxicity to gum epithelial cells than traditional cigarettes, demonstrating significant harm reduction effects,” said Associate Professor Su Le. “We will continue to conduct more research to thoroughly evaluate the safety and long-term impact of e-cigarettes.”

Matthew Ma