If you were to enter any ‘cool’ party or club this Saturday night you might be greeted by fruity clouds and flashing blue lights. Confused? Well, if you remember a couple years back there was a surge in Shisha pens. Well, Elf Bars (aka Vapes aka Geek Bars) are Gen-Z’s new toy.
They come in a range of flavours cotton candy, watermelon, cherry, apple - you name it. Coated in pretty colours, plastered in corner shop windows for as little as a fiver!
Unlike its cousin the Shisha Pen, Elf Bars do not need to be charged and can be used right after purchase.
It gained a ridiculous amount of popularity and the stats also back this up, with online vape platform IndeJuice reporting a 279% increase in disposable vape sales from last year.
Sounds great right? Let me tell you why you shouldn’t be so fast to hop onto the trend...and the havoc that vaping could be playing in your mouth...
W H A T D O E S A N E L F B A R C O N T A I N?
First off, let's start with what is in these small contraptions.
According to IndeJuice, an Elf Bar contains nicotine salt liquid that is 20mg and this is well infused into the e-liquid that it is pre-filled with. It is supposed to double up as an alternative to those who smoke traditional cigarettes, "providing you with an instant nicotine hit." - (Many young people of course don't know this)
A range of different healthcare professionals have advised against consuming on social media, particularly.
Under the TikTok hashtag 'elfbar', there are 1.0 billion videos alone!
Dr Mudhar warned his TikTok followers against using the viral vapes.
"Don't do it" the expert wrote in the caption, following up in the clip by saying "If you use Geek or Elf bars, it's bad news."
He added: "Smoking a whole Geek or Elf bar is the equivalent of about 48 to 50 cigarettes." - CRAZY
A common myth is that vaping is a safer smoking alternative and has no effect on your teeth, BUT this is in fact FALSE!
D O E S V A P I N G A F F E C T Y O U R T E E T H ?
As mentioned before, these bars contain nicotine, which is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical. Nicotine is bad news! It can create teeth staining, increase risks of oral cancer & increase bacteria in the mouth.
Despite vapes ‘generally’ being better than cigarettes, Dr Gareth Nye, a lecturer and researcher at the University of Chester, has said there is still ‘reasonable’ potential for lung damage and cancer.
Dr Nye said: “A recent study has shown from January 2021 to January 2022, there was a 14-fold increase in the percentage of vapers that used disposables, rising from 1.2 per cent to 16.7 per cent - the percentage of 18-year-old vapers using disposables rose from 0.89 per cent to 56.7 per cent. So over half of reported vapers aged 18 are using these Elf Bars.
“Despite vapes generally being the better option than cigarettes, there is a worrying notion among young people that vapes and Elf Bars are 100 per cent safe, which is simply not true,” said Dr Nye. “Even no nicotine versions are not safe.”
G U M D I S E A S E
Just like the nicotine in cigarettes, the nicotine in Elf Bars causes gum inflammation and swelling.
Whether it is vaped or smoked, nicotine restricts blood flow to the gums. This, therefore, causes a higher risk of gum disease. Other common ingredients like propylene glycol, benzene and formaldehyde only increase the chances.
T O O T H D E C A Y
Even though Elf Bars do not contain tar, nicotine CAN ALSO stain your teeth. (FYI- we recommend the SmileTime Teeth Whitening Kit or our Natural Activated Charcoal Kit to help combat any nasty stains).
Did you also know that vaping can build bacteria in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay, cavities and gum disease? No. Well it does.
This is usually associated with eating sugary sweets and acidic drinks but can also come about through vaping. This is because many Elf Bar flavourings are sweet, and the aerosols they contain have comparable properties to high-sucrose and acidic drinks.
However - the most effective way to prevent tooth decay is maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily with an electric toothbrush such as the SmileTime Sonic Smile Electric Toothbrush, avoiding damaging food & substances for your teeth - and seeing your dentist regularly.
D R Y M O U T H
The list goes on!
Another major risk factor of vaping is that it contributes to a dry mouth and decreases saliva production, due to the humectants it contains.
This can cause the following:
- bad breath
- gum disease
- mouth ulcers
- tooth decay
O R A L C A N C E R
People that's not all! Studies indicate that vaping can cause oral cancer. The chemicals in vaping products such as formaldehyde, methylglyoxal, and acrolein are carcinogenic (eek).
Dr Gareth Nye a lecturer at the University of Chester, said: "Vaping has caused increases in tooth decay, dental and oral conditions and shows signs of being linked to oral cancers the same way cigarette smoking does."
The chemical vapours created by vaping can also change or disrupt the epithelial cells, leading to oral ulceration!
He added: “There is limited scientific evidence regarding these products, mainly regarding the liquid used to vape with rather than the vaping device itself as they have continued to change over the last ten years."
O T H E R H E A L T H I S S U E S
With prolonged use the effects of using an Elf Bar only worsen, it has also proven to cause lung problems.
Dr Gareth Nye said: "I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a whole generation of 30-year-olds with lung conditions in the next decade.”
W H A T C A N I D O I F I V A P E ?
Brushing and flossing twice a day can help reduce your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease . (Our personal favourites are the sustainable kind - made of bamboo - such as the SmileTime Bamboo Toothbrushes).
- In addition to this, a hydrated mouth will prevent your mouth from dryness and will aid in the maintenance of your dental health.
Also, go and see your dentist! (FYI National dental chains such as Smileright are always taking on new patients).
So, SmileTimers we've learnt that vaping has similar effects on your oral health as traditional smoking and YES your dentist WILL be able to tell.