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Dental Errors Dismissed

Experts were “disappointed” with “several basic errors and misrepresentations” in a paper claiming that vaping causes tooth damage

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Experts were “disappointed” with “several basic errors and misrepresentations” in a paper published in British Dental Journal claiming that vaping causes tooth damage. The paper in question was produced by two food science lecturers at the Cardiff Metropolitan University School of Sport and Health Sciences.

Cardiff’s Ruth Fairchild and Anita Setarehnejad asked if the “erosive potential” of vaping is “a cause for concern”.

Relatively little is known about the erosive potential of vape products,” they say – but fail to add anything to the knowledge base.

The pair stated things such as: “Toxic compounds such as diacetyl, which has been linked to severe respiratory disease, have been found in 75% of flavoured e-cigarettes.”

The World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration have warned against the widespread use of e-cigarettes as a nicotine replacement product,” they say, adding, “that e-cigarettes are almost certainly more dangerous than medicinal nicotine replacement products.”

In many ways, their full paper resembles something that would be found from a university in California, not the UK.

Fortunately, the peer review process has produced a letter from people who actually understand vaping and dentistry – a quartet from Newcastle University’s School of Dental Sciences:

  • Dr Richard Holliday. Senior Lecturer and Hon. Consultant in Restorative Dentistry
  • Professor Elaine McColl. Professor of Health Service Research
  • Anthony Weke. A Registered Nurse with interest in clinical practice, population health intervention, public health research and teaching.
  • Zella Sayeed. Postgrad student

They point to “5 major errors” in the paper:

  1. Vapes do not contain tobacco
  2. The claim that nicotine causes a “high risk of oral and whole-body health complications”. The Newcastle response points out that NRT has been used for over three decades “and is regarded as extremely safe, even for long-term use
  3. The unfounded claim that vaping is linked to cancer and a reference that fails to support the allegation
  4. The diacetyl claim. The supporting reference fails to bear that out and they forget that diacetyl is banned from use in e-liquids in the UK
  5. The false representation that the WHO position is the given standard – when all UK public health bodies actually support vaping

They pointed out that the investigation was technically sound but “a major limitation of the study is that it is not representative of the real-life scenario. The data should not be over-interpreted, and further in vitro modelling studies and clinical studies are needed.”

Richard Holliday’s group says that they have investigated the effect of vaping on changing the pH of the mouth “using a state-of-the-art research vaping machine”. They found that vaping created minimal changes.

They signed off by referring British dentists to the advice given by the NHS and other public health bodies.


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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