CATANIA, 26 January 2024 – In a pioneering study, CoEHAR researchers explored dental coloration among former smokers using Electronic Cigarettes (ECs) and Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs), revealing a remarkable finding: individuals using these combustion-free nicotine products exhibit significantly whiter teeth compared to tobacco smokers.
Dental discoloration is common cigarette smokers. Abstaining from tobacco smoking may not only improve general health, but also reduce teeth staining and restore teeth whiteness. Dental whiteness, a parameter with a significant influence on the final color perception of teeth, translates to an enhanced aesthetic perception.
CoEHAR researchers measured teeth whiteness in 18 current, 18 former, 20 never-smokers, 15 exclusive HTP users and 18 exclusive EC users. Participants had their degree of tooth discoloration measured through a cutting edge digital technology called digital spectrophotometry. CoEHAR researchers confirmed that cigarette smokers had approximately 35% worse dental discoloration compared with never and former smokers (13.38 Whiteness Index for Dentistry (WID) units in smokers vs. 19.96 and 16.79 WID units in never and former smokers, respectively). What sets this study apart is the remarkable observation that exclusive users of ECs and HTPs had also much whiter teeth than tobacco smokers (16.72 WID units and 17.82 WID units vs. 13.38 WID). Compared to current smokers, difference in dental whiteness for ECs and HTPs users was visually noticeable. These findings can be attributed to the design of these nicotine delivery technologies, which do not require combustion to operate thus avoiding the production of tar-associated pigments of tobacco smoke that are responsible for dental discoloration and stains.
“Given the design and technology of combustion-free nicotine devices, our findings come as no surprise,” commented Professor Shipra Gupta, lead author of the article and part of the Unit of Periodontics at the Oral Health Sciences Centre, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, India “these technologies are anticipated to significantly reduce teeth exposure to pigments linked to tar in tobacco smoke, resulting in the observed improvement in aesthetic appearance and overall dental health”.
A secondary objective of the study was to evaluate how certain variables, such as age, gender, and tooth brushing frequency, could interact and modify tooth coloration. The analyses showed that brushing frequency can strongly influence dental color measurements.
The study marks the first of its kind, shedding light on a novel aspect of oral health among users of combustion-free nicotine products. These findings underscore the aesthetic benefits associated with ECs and HTPs use, signifying a significant departure from the well-known dental color implications of tobacco smoking. As patients increasingly prioritize aesthetics, evident in the growing prevalence of purely cosmetic dental procedures, and with smoking being a prevalent factor, this result serves as a compelling incentive to quit smoking.
“The visible improvement in tooth color observed in exclusive users of combustion-free nicotine products carries considerable implications for smokers, especially young smokers who perceive dental aesthetics as a significant concern” remarked Professor Riccardo Polosa, founder of CoEHAR “for these individuals, an oral-centric narrative focused on achieving a healthier and brighter smile could prove a more compelling incentive to quit smoking compared to concerns about future lung cancer or cardiopulmonary diseases”.
Definitive results concerning the impact of tar-free nicotine delivery technologies (such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products) on oral health and dental aesthetic will be soon provided by the ongoing international clinical trial “SMILE” coordinated by CoEHAR.