July 21st, 2020
This article is the winner of Oh Canada! Readers’ Choice Award for 2020
A new challenge to oral and overall health has emerged: vaping nicotine products. Unfortunately, while dental hygienists can draw on a robust catalogue of scientific evidence when speaking with their clients about the risks of traditional cigarette smoking, they do not have access to the same amount of research required to navigate this relatively new challenge to oral and overall health.
Vaping was once marketed as a “safe alternative” to cigarettes and their by-products. However, developing evidence demonstrates that the safety profile of vaping products may not be as benign as previously believed. In addition, there are vaping risks and oral and overall health effects that are of particular concern to the teenager and twenty-something demographic who use such products. Dental hygienists and other health care professionals often refrain from discussing vaping with their clients either because it may be perceived as a sensitive topic or because they feel that they lack sufficient knowledge on the subject. The objective of this article is to provide an evidence-based starting point for dental hygienists so they can confidently address vaping with their clients. Early recognition and strategic intervention strategies are essential in developing efforts to maximize oral and overall health.