E-cigarettes linked to worse gum health

(ORDO NEWS) — If you have switched from conventional cigarettes to electronic ones, or have been smoking vaping for a long time, we have not the best news for you. A series of studies conducted by the New York University College of Dentistry, USA, shows the dark side of such devices.

Smoking in any form is a very bad habit that does not bring health to your body.

E-cigarettes affect oral health and can contribute to gum disease. The latest study shows that e-cigarette users have a unique oral microbiome that is less healthy than non-smokers.

“Now we are beginning to understand how e-cigarettes and the chemicals they contain alter the oral microbiome and disrupt the balance of bacteria,” said Deepak Saxena, leader of the new work.

Today, nearly half of US adults over 30 suffer from gum disease. However, the number of people with these problems in the world is much larger. Cigarette smoking is a known risk factor for oral disease, but less is known about the effects of e-cigarettes, which vaporize nicotine and other chemicals.

How did scientists know that e-cigarettes are harmful?

E cigarettes linked to worse gum health 2

The researchers studied the oral health of 84 adults from three groups: cigarette smokers, e-cigarette users, and people who had never smoked. Gum disease was assessed using two dental exams six months apart, during which plaque samples were taken to analyze the presence of bacteria.

Changes in gum health

All participants had some gum problems at the start of the study, but the most severe conditions were seen in cigarette smokers. After six months, the researchers noticed that gum health had worsened in some of the participants in each group. However, the clinical picture was much worse among e-cigarette smokers.

By analyzing bacteria in plaque samples, the scientists determined that e-cigarette users have a different oral microbiome from those of smokers and non-smokers.

While all groups shared about a fifth of the bacterial species, the bacterial composition of e-cigarette users had strikingly more in common with cigarette smokers than with non-smokers.

Several species of bacteria, including selenomonads, leptotrichia, and saccharibacteria, were abundant in both smokers and vapers. But several other bacteria, including Fusobacterium and Bacteroidales, which are known to be associated with gum disease, have been especially prevalent in the mouths of e-cigarette users.

The researchers concluded that the specific oral microbiome of e-cigarette users causes altered immune responses. “Using e-cigarettes is a relatively new habit,” said Scott Thomas, one of the study’s authors.

“Unlike smoking, which has been extensively studied for decades, we know little about the health implications of e-cigarette use and are just beginning to understand how the unique microbiome created by vaping influences oral health and disease.”

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