Cigarette Smoking and chewing tobacco are still significant problems with mouth and teeth health.
The problems with smoking with gum disease and with tooth decay comes from the heat and the smoke (which contains the particulates) and the fact that cigarette smoke is almost a perfect desiccant.
Cigarette smoke removes moisture from the mouth which compounds the problem of losing saliva as we get older.
If you watch the smoke from a cigarette burning on its own, it comes out blue. The tiny ash particles are a microscopic, 20-micron size. The ash particles reflect the high end of the visible color spectrum which is blue. Billions of those particles are coming out of the smoke, all reflecting blue.
The smoker inhales and upon exhalation, every one of those billions of particles now reflect white since the smoke has extracted moisture out of the lungs, trachea and the mouth. The smoke removes the last protective layer from the mucous membranes and has left the ash and tar which embeds into the lungs.
I love to help problem solve with cigarette smokers since so many of them want to quit smoking. I often recommend the patch or Nicorette brand chewing gum to help them stop smoking. I also recommend the e-cigs if they can’t stop the smoking.
I had one patient who smoked 3 packs a day and on his own, he transitioned to an e-cig. He always flossed, always brushed, but because of the cigarette smoke, his gums and teeth were not healthy. He still smokes the equivalent of 3 packs a day but bleached his teeth and started getting healthy gums.
There has not been a lot of research on the e-cigs so we don't know if they will result in any long term health hazard. However, I know cigarettes are going to create problems with my patient’s gums and health.
I also know the e-cigs don’t desiccate. The ingredient that is inhaled is nicotine dissolved in water. The mist that is exhaled is the mist, the water, that the nicotine is in. There is no temperature change so the heat is not going into the lungs. There is no smoke and there is no tar.
I’ve seen positive results with smokers’ gums and teeth when they switch to e-cigs.