Send your letters to the Editor, British Dental Journal, 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS. firstname.lastname@example.org. Priority will be given to letters less than 500 words long. Authors must sign the letter, which may be edited for reasons of space.
Sir, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have been a popular topic of discussion recently. Their relationship with periodontal disease has been a particular area of interest within the dental field.1 However, they may also pose a risk for another major oral health problem, dental caries.
An electronic cigarette is a device which utilises the heating of a solution or 'e-liquid' to release a vapour. Initially devised as a means to deliver nicotine to a smoker in a familiar method to which they are accustomed, the concept was developed with the introduction of a plethora of flavoured 'e-liquids'.
The e-liquids contain a mixture of various chemicals including sucrose,2 aqueous glycerine and artificial flavourings.3 This cariogenic substrate is delivered to the oral cavity as an aerosolised vapour.
Furthermore, the introduction of flavoured e-liquids, as well as zero-nicotine levels, has now also attracted non-smokers to the use of e-cigarettes as a recreational activity. 'Vaping' has become especially popular with teenagers and young adults, often involving prolonged sessions of continuous use lasting numerous hours.
I would propose that the cariogenicity of flavoured e-liquids could be an area of further research. Furthermore, it could be particularly beneficial to work together with manufacturers to develop less cariogenic 'e-liquids', using alternative ingredients.