Health & Studies

EFP Leaves Bad Taste in the Mouth

The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) left a bad taste in the mouth when it made the outlandish claim that vaping is as bad for oral health as smoking

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The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) has made a claim that vaping is as harmful to gum and oral health as traditional tobacco cigarette smoking. It claims, “despite the fact that the vaping phenomenon is relatively new compared to smoking, meaning research details are still incomplete, evidence does show a clear link between e-cigarettes and poor gum and oral health.” The statement has been criticised by Dr Richard Holliday, an expert in restorative dentistry and periodontics.

Unlike tobacco smokers, who are more aware of smoking as a risk factor for general health problems and for gum diseases, vaping users are often misled to think of e-cigs as somehow less harmful or even safe. Vaping may not be less detrimental to gum and oral health than smoking,” the EFP says in a press release.

One of the reasons behind vaping’s unhealthy impact is nicotine, whether smoked or vaped, which restricts the blood flow to the gums. Other chemicals contained in the e- cig vapour (including formaldehyde, propylene glycol, and benzene) may aggressively increase the damage to the mouth, starting with a progressive destruction of the periodontium, the tissues supporting the teeth.”

It cites a Professor Stavropoulos, who comments: “For these reasons, at the EFP we urge oral healthcare professionals to not suggest vaping as a transition strategy of tobacco cessation, but rather to prioritise smoking cessation advice for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes alike, and to provide patients with information about the likely detrimental impact of vaping on gum and oral health.”

Dr Richard Holliday, Honorary Consultant in Restorative Dentistry and Specialist in Periodontics at Newcastle University, has been looking at vaping’s impact on oral health for many years. He has spoken at multiple events and frequently writes about the research and encourages all dentists to support their smoking patients in switching to vaping.

Dr Holliday stated: “This press release is completely out of step with the research base and expert opinion in this area. I am not aware of any research that shows e-cigarettes are as harmful for oral health as smoking. No studies are cited in this press release to support the bold statements made.

“The very best peer-reviewed research summaries in this area conclude that the impact on periodontal health of e-cigarette use is fairly minimal – and certainly not as damaging as smoking. Of course, further research is needed in this area.

“E-cigarettes are not risk-free and users will have effects on the oral cavity, just as you would expect from introducing any substance into a complex oral ecosystem.

“For smokers using e-cigarettes to quit, the benefits from quitting are likely to far outweigh any negative effects from e-cigarettes.

“Non-smokers, especially young people, should not be using e-cigarettes and anything we can do to prevent use in this group is critically important.”

Unlike the EFP and Professor Stavropoulos, Dr Holliday pointed to a number of studies to support his position:

  • Pesco 2022 concluded: ‘Periodontal parameters were similar among NS and ES, while TS presented the worst indices.’
  • Figueredo 2020 concluded: ‘there is not enough evidence to fully characterize the impacts of vaping on periodontitis.’
  • Holliday 2020 summarized: ‘Overall, evidence suggests that the risk of periodontal disease associated with e-cigarette use is less than that associated with tobacco smoking but more than that seen in nonsmokers.’

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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