The findings of a new study, whose findings appear in the journal Science Advances, look at the damaging effects of vaping on the oral health of a person. More specifically, the researchers were interested in investigating whether the frequency of vaping makes a difference in the risk of developing an oral disease.
Previously, research has already established that vaping or using e-cigarettes can negatively impact health in multiple ways. Although vapes were once marketed as the ‘healthier’ alternative to smoking cigarettes, scientists later discovered that they were equally harmful to health.
In addition, some studies also suggested that the nicotine delivery systems used within a vape can possibly be more harmful in comparison with conventional cigarettes. With the introduction of vapes, there was a large portion of the population in the US as well as elsewhere in the world that switched to e-cigarettes from the usual cigarettes.
However, statistics revealed that many of the users of vapes were teenagers and even children. Currently, the estimated number of people who vape in the US is estimated to be around nine million. Many of these people are children under the age of eighteen.
In fact, most of the four million adolescents under the age of eighteen reported that the first tobacco product they used was vapes or e-cigarettes. Their vast popularity along with the increase in the number of studies highlighting its dangerous effects on health is what eventually led to a ban on e-cigarette sales in many states in the US.
Now, the new study shows more adverse effects of using vapes. It is estimated that many people, along with regular e-cigarette users, vape occasionally or infrequently. Although the vaping is not as frequent, the research states that it can still pose a threat to health and significantly increase the risk of developing an oral disease.
According to the findings of the study, vaping infrequently also disturbs the bacterial composition in the oral cavity, which can then lead to an elevated risk of multiple conditions ranging from gum disease to cancer.
Read about the effects of tobacco products here.
To reach this conclusion, the scientists examined plaque samples from one hundred and twenty-three participants. These participants were divided into groups containing twenty to twenty-five people under the categories of smokers, non-smokers, former smokers who switched to vapes, vape users, and those who used both vapes and cigarettes.
In the collected samples, the researchers DNA sequencing of the bacterial genomes to know about the bacteria living in the oral cavity and the function they performed. It was then discovered that the bacterial community in nearly all vape-users was covered with a thick slime that resembled mucus.
This mucus is usually produced when there is a high level of stress on the bacterial community in the oral cavity. The researchers also noted that due to the slime cover on the bacteria, the immune systems of the people responded by the inflammatory response as it was not able to identify the communities.
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Consequently, the changes in the microbial community combined with slime, high levels of inflammation, and higher than usual level of protein in the oral cavity of vape users paved the way for the development of the oral disease.
The senior author of the study and the professor of periodontology at The Ohio State University, Purnima Kumar explained that the oral health is maintained as long as the immune system is able to recognize the bacteria in the cavity. Any disturbance in them can lead to inflammation and disease.
Another important finding accentuated by the researchers was that when they compared the consequences of smokers and vape users, that latter was found to be at a higher risk due regardless of whether the vapes they used had nicotine or not. These findings applied regardless of the frequency of vaping.
According to researchers, this may be due to the heated liquids and delivery systems used in vapes. This means that vaping can be harmful to everyone and cause oral disease regardless of the kind and frequency of using it.