Dental Tribune International

Study evaluates staining properties of tobacco products

By Dental Tribune International
June 24, 2019

LONDON, UK: Studies by scientists at British American Tobacco (BAT) have shown that aerosol from potentially reduced-risk products (PRRPs), such as vapour and tobacco-heating products, causes significantly less staining on tooth enamel and skin than does the smoke from conventional cigarettes.

It is well known that cigarette smokers can develop stains that discolour tooth enamel. Although this staining is often called nicotine staining, it is actually caused by the tar in cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke can also stain skin.

In the study, BAT scientists assessed the impact of aerosols from PRRPs. A reference cigarette, a tobacco-heating product (THP) and two innovative vapour products were evaluated. To assess the staining levels, a wide range of materials were used, including porcine skin samples and bovine enamel blocks. In order to mimic conditions in the mouth, the enamel blocks were first incubated with saliva to allow the formation of a pellicle layer. They were then assessed before, during and after exposure using a standard technique for assessing toothpaste or tooth whitening agents.

These results showed that the exposure of tooth enamel and skin to aerosols from vapour products and THPs did not cause staining—the levels of staining were comparable to those of untreated controls. The BAT believes that switching completely from cigarettes to vapour products or THPs may offer cosmetic and social benefits for consumers. “These benefits around social consideration and personal hygiene are really resonating with users,” said senior scientist Dr Annette Dalrymple, who presented the results at the Global Forum on Nicotine, which took place in Warsaw in Poland from 13 to 15 June.

Editorial note: This does not necessarily mean these products are less harmful than other tobacco products.

The study, titled “Assessment of enamel discoloration in vitro following exposure to cigarette smoke and emissions from novel vapor and tobacco heating products”, was published in the October 2018 issue of the American Journal of Dentistry.


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