The American Dental Association is calling on congress to ban vaping products that aren't FDA-approved for tobacco cessation. So is the Michigan Dental Association. Dr. Margaret Gingrich is the president, and her practice is right next to Ferris State University.
"I've known about it for... at least, the last 5 years. But I've had patients using it. I have recommended them not to use it and to use it with caution," she said.
Gingrich said her patients respond by saying "tell me what's wrong with it. Would you prefer me to smoke cigarettes or vape?"
She says her answer is always "neither". Gingrich says she's seeing more nicotine getting into her patients' systems.
"I've seen a lot of nicotine stomatitis which is where the tissues are very dried out, and if they're using a flavored vaping product they often have cavities associated with that," she explained.
Grand Rapids-based dentist Dr. Brian Nylaan says there's a widespread misconception that vaping is considerably safer than traditional smoking because there's no tobacco in vaping products. However, he says it's the nicotine being overlooked.
"It wreaks havoc on gums. It wreaks havoc on teeth. It's not good," Nylaan said.
"But how it's delivered... both delivery mechanisms, again, one might be more pleasant than the other, but it's the nicotine that does the damage," he said.
Dr. Gingrich says there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to vaping.
"It's like smoking. Back in the 1950s and 60s people said, 'Oh, smoking's not bad for you. Go ahead and smoke.' Well then we realized it can cause cancer and all of the other issues associated with it like COPD," she said.
"Vaping products have not been out long enough for us to see the long term affects, but they're getting that information as fast as they can so we can try to help regulate so that people are not injuring themselves," she explained.
The ADA says if a patient is trying to quit smoking then the vaping product should be FDA-approved and should require a doctor's prescription.