When vaping became a fad a common perception was that it could give you a similar feeling to smoking tobacco but be better for your overall health, and won’t provoke oral health problems or a gum Disease .
Recent research has identified a family of bacteria and immune responses with people who use e-cigarettes however that could harm your oral health potentially even worse than smoking cigarettes and the two share more harmful bacteria than most people realize.
Research from NYU College of Dentistry:
E-cigarettes have been connected to gum disease with the users of vape pens and other devices having a unique community of bacteria that is worse than non-smokers.
Deepak Saxena and Xin Li professors of molecular pathobiology at NYU College of Dentistry said that “this is the first longitudinal study of oral health and e-cigarette use.”
The chemicals in e-cigarettes are changing your microbiome and disrupting the bacteria in your mouth. This is because e-cigarettes cause nicotine and other chemicals to vaporize and cause long-term harmful effects to your oral health.
They conducted a study on the long-term effects of smokers, non-smokers, and those that only use e-cigarettes. They did this by doing two dental exams, 6 months apart, and taking plaque samples that revealed how each participant in the study has some gum disease where both types of cigarette smokers had the worst gum disease.
After 6 months it was found that the clinical attachment loss (which leads to more bacteria accumulating) was much worse in e-cigarette smokers than in the regular cigarette smoker group.
What is this unique microbiome that e-cigarette smokers have?
The researchers analyzed the plaque bacteria which had much more in common with smokers than the non-smoking group. Many of the worst bacteria that raise the risk of gum disease for smokers were also present for e-cigarette smokers.
According to Fangxi Xu a junior research scientist and co-author “vaping appears to be driving unique patterns in bacteria and influencing the growth of some bacteria in a similar manner to smoking, but with its own profile and risks to oral health.”
Does vaping cause an altered immune response?
The researchers discovered that the distinct microbiome in e-cigarette users was associated with different cytokines levels which are linked to an imbalance in oral bacteria leading to worse gum disease cases.
This is because this response makes these users more susceptible to gum inflammation and infection. The specific strands of cytokines bacteria in these users appeared to have been suppressing their immune responses to these bacteria as well.
The researchers have conclusive evidence to show that this distinct oral microbiome alters immune responses which can lead to gum disease. Scott Thomas, another research scientist in the study added unlike smoking, which has been studied extensively for decades, we know little about the health consequences of e-cigarette use and are now only starting to learn how the unique microbiome that is distinct with vaping affects our oral health and susceptibility to diseases.
What can I do to maintain great oral health?
- Drink fluoride water and use fluoride whitening toothpaste
- Limit alcoholic drinks
- Don’t use tobacco products
- Limit eating sugary food or have sugary drinks
- Practice good oral hygiene
It is also very important to have a regular dental cleaning. Our dental clinic in London Ontario would love to help you maintain great oral health. If you have any questions please contact us.