September JADA finds association between vaping, untreated caries

Vaping is associated with an increased occurrence of untreated caries, according to a study published in the September issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association .

The cover story,  "Association Between Vaping and Untreated Caries: A Cross-Sectional Study of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2017-2018 Data," looked at oral health examination data from the 2017-18 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess the association between untreated caries and smoking, while controlling for education, race or ethnicity, income, age, sex and time since previous dental visit.

The study found that of the 4,618 participants included, those who currently smoked e-cigarettes were more likely to have untreated caries than those who had never smoked, when adjusted for demographic variables. Additionally, those who smoked both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes were more likely to have untreated caries compared with nondual smokers.

"Vaping is a popular alternative to quit smoking," said Surendra Reddy Mandapati, D.D.S., corresponding author of the study. "Vaping products contain substances that are known to promote cariogenic activity. After accounting for sociodemographic factors and previous dental visits, we found a strong association between vaping and untreated dental caries. Our study findings warrant further investigations to explore the presence of any causal relationship."

The authors recommended that vaping status be included as part of patient health history questionnaires and dental professionals be informed of the potential oral health implications of vaping to impart this knowledge to patients.

"Even though the effects of vaping on oral health are not well understood yet, we strongly recommend dental professionals include vaping in smoking history questionnaires and educate patients about potential negative effects of vaping on oral health," Dr. Mandapati said.

Other articles in the September issue of JADA discuss caregiver acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine , hypnosis as anesthesia and dental service use rates after Medicaid expansion .

Every month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of the print publication.

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