Scrape The Vape Dreamscape, Increased Cavities Is The Unclouded Gravity
Scrape The Vape Dreamscape, Increased Cavities Is The Unclouded Gravity
You don’t have to have a medical degree to understand that lungs are designed to take in oxygen, its components, and not much else.
We certainly know that they don’t like water. Every year, worldwide, about 320,000 people find that out. You can pretty much double that number for the statistics of those experiencing a ‘non-fatal drowning incident’ – presumed to be undoubtedly damaging on some level, and not in the least bit pleasant.
Lungs don’t even like a hint of water being in them; ask anyone who’s had pulmonary oedema.
In fact, so strong is the body’s insistence that water never reach the lungs there is a reflex response that closes the throat, known as the laryngospasm reflex. At the first indication an influx of H2O has overshot the oesophagus and has instead hit the trachea behind, this protective reflex prevents foreign material – which is essentially anything other than air – entering the tracheobronchial tree.
And what is vapour? A substance that is normally solid or liquid, suspended in air. So it appears that this diffusion prompts some type of physiological confusion that allows what is essentially liquid, into the lungs.
E-cigarettes heat chemical flavourings and often, although not always, nicotine along with other chemicals to create an inhalable aerosol. While we’re quite aware that tailor made cigarettes contain a mind-boggling approximation of 7,000 chemicals – many of which are toxic – we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in e-cigarettes.
Yet there’s the belief that vaping exposes you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional smoking. Somehow there’s a marketable difference between being a little bit poisoned and a lot.
As humans, we have a tendency to focus on the present at the expense of the future.
It’s a temporal myopia that anchors us into a contrived sense that there’s comfort and security in cost cutting and convenience. We did it with plastic, fast food, mobile phones, cheap fashion, overharvesting and social media.
Vaping, like all of the above and many Homo sapiens pursuits, started with no idea of the long-term consequences.
Even when we identify risks and dangers, people and community remain a paltry second to the chokehold of progress and profit.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies published a report in October 2023 that found an association between vaping, and mental health challenges of depression, anxiety, perceived stress and suicide-related behaviours among adolescents.
As recently as 2020 the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) confirmed 68 deaths attributed to this smoking alternative. More than 2,800 cases of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (that the medical fraternity isn’t convinced is a reversible) meant that it needed a name: EVALI.
That it starts with an ‘e’ fits well with our belief that that makes it better, cleaner, faster – think email, e-commerce, e-meetings, e-books, e-readers, e-zines and e-waste.
And if ‘e-liquid’ feels a bit freaky and unhealthy, referring to it as ‘vape juice’ can change all that.
Similar to pre-mixed alcohol products being jauntily known as ‘alcopops’ both are particularly appealing to the younger demographic to which the two are predominantly marketed.
Curiously, and keeping with the ‘e’ theme, the CDC has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with EVALI. Found in all lung fluid samples examined by the CDC, it’s a thickening agent apparently used only in bootleg e-liquids containing THC (one of the psychoactive components of cannabis).
It’s not the only chemical in e-liquids though, and there are an astounding 20,000 available, with 245 ‘unique flavour descriptions’. The John Hopkins University published research papers in 2021, revealing that there are thousands of ingredients, including a pesticide and flavourings linked to toxic effects.
That vaping is healthier than smoking is a pup that’s sold because we keep buying it. Margarine for butter, soy for dairy products, vitamin water for soft drink, and how green is my valley full of electric cars.
Vaping advertising is prolific on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook – where the wild things are – seemingly filling the gaping hole left by the ban on promoting cigarettes and tobacco that began in 1973.
Along with that oh-so-last-century idea, smoking was eventually prohibited on planes, trains and automobiles. Lighting up in restaurants, workplaces and public places soon followed suit as utterly unsuitable.
For a while e-cigarettes were considered an aid for giving up smoking, and you could get away with vaping in places you couldn’t smoke. Neither is a reality now; and people who had no interest in cigarettes are happily taking up vaping.
Crudely, it’s an atom split. Which brings to mind Einstein’s thought at that crucial time, expressed in his 1939 telegram, “…The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”
Along with increased awareness of the systemic health dangers of vaping and legislation to support that, consumer behaviour remains defiant and vape stores continue to open.
Research links e-cigarette use to increased markers for gum disease, as well as tooth enamel damage. Preliminary data shows that 79.1% of dental patients who vaped were categorised as having a high risk of caries, compared to 59.6% of the control group.
This intersection between e-liquid use and oral health is the sugary viscosity of vape products.
When atomised and inhaled, they stick to teeth in much the same way as lollies and sweetened drinks. Oral microbiome also changes; making it much more hospitable to cavity-causing bacteria. Vaping also promotes decay in areas that are not usually affected, such as the lower edges of front teeth.
These findings are just a hint of how vapes affects oral health because its extent – much like the chemicals in them – is still relatively unknown.
We are well versed in the damage smoking causes to gums and the soft tissue of the oral cavity, and how stained and discoloured teeth become. Given that vaping is the same horse, different jockey, forget the odds – it’s a photo finish.
Note: All content and media on the Bacchus Marsh Dental House website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.
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