Vaping Changes Bacteria in Mouth
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of gum disease because it changes the bacteria found in your mouth. This is what scientists call the oral microbiome, the environment of your mouth.
We know that the vapor from e-cigarettes contains some, but not all, of the compounds in cigarette smoke that are responsible for health consequences. We don’t know how e-cigarette vapor impacts your oral microbiome.
To test the impact of vaping on your oral microbiome, researchers examined 84 volunteers over six months. Of these volunteers, 27 people smoked tobacco cigarettes, 28 used only e-cigarettes, and 29 were nonsmokers. Gum disease is so prevalent that all volunteers had at least mild gum disease at the start of the study.
None of the participants had professional teeth cleaning during the study period to avoid disrupting the results. Not surprisingly, this led to signs that gum disease was worsening for all volunteers.
However, what was surprising was that each of the three groups had a different bacterial population. The populations were unique enough that a computer could accurately categorize people into the three groups with about 75% accuracy based solely on the bacteria in their mouths. The greatest difficulty for the computer was categorizing e-cigarette users, who shared characteristics with both smokers and nonsmokers.