• April 24, 2024

Study Shows Vaping Alters Mouth Microbes

 Study Shows Vaping Alters Mouth Microbes
Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

Researchers at New York University led by Deepak Saxena and Xin Li conducted a study to compare oral microbiomes of smokers and vapers, according to the National Institutes of Health.

During the study, 27 smokers, 28 e-cigarette users and 29 nonsmokers were examined over six months. All participants had at least mild gum disease at the beginning of the study, and none had their teeth cleaned during the study period.

Researchers compared the types of bacteria found where the gums meet the teeth at the beginning and end of the six-month study. They also compared markers of inflammation and immune cell activity.

The number of unique bacterial species living in and around the gums increased for all participants during the study. This can be a sign of gum disease getting worse.

The specific types of microbes found in the oral microbiomes differed substantially between the three groups. There was a core set of species common among the groups, but each also had unique features. They were so distinct that a machine-learning program could use the oral microbiome to predict which group people were in with 74 percent accuracy.

However, the program was least accurate at picking out e-cigarette users. The patterns of their oral microbes shared characteristics with both smokers and nonsmokers, with slightly more similarities to smokers. Unique traits among e-cigarette users included enrichment with Fusobacterium and Bacteroidales species, both of which are linked to gum disease.

“We are now beginning to understand how e-cigarettes and the chemicals they contain are changing the oral microbiome and disrupting the balance of bacteria,” Saxena says.