Many doctors recommend that you do this to treat your gum disease.
But according to a new study in the journal mBio, this supposedly healthy habit drastically worsens gum disease.
Cigarette smoking is one of the best-known risk factors for gum disease. So doctors often recommend that their patients switch to vaping e-cigarettes instead.
But vaping has not been studied as thoroughly. The long-term consequences of vaping are especially poorly understood.
To close this research gap, scientists from New York University’s College of Dentistry carried out a series of studies that compared vapers, cigarette smokers, and non-smokers with each other.
They recruited 84 subjects, of whom 27 smoked normal cigarettes, 28 used e-cigarettes, and 29 did not smoke. Since approximately half of all Americans over the age of 30 have gum disease, many of these subjects displayed some level of it.
They examined their subjects’ oral health over a period of six months, during which their smoking habits remained the same. They examined the participants’ teeth to assess their gum disease severity level; they also analyzed bacterial plaques and gum tissue samples that they had collected.
This is what they found:
1. Cigarette smokers had the most severe gum disease, followed by e-cigarette smokers and then non-smokers.
2. After six months, e-cigarette smokers experienced more separation between gums and teeth than participants in the other two groups did.
3. The bacterial profiles in the mouths of e-cigarettes users showed similarities with those of both cigarette smokers and non-smokers, but they were more similar to those of cigarette smokers. In particular, they shared bacteria like Selenomonas, Leptotrichia, and Saccharibacteria with smokers.
4. Some bacteria previously associated with gum disease, such as Fusobacterium and Bacteroidales, were especially common in the mouths of vapers.
5. TNF-alpha, a cytokine used by the immune system that causes inflammation, was much more abundant in vapers than in the other two groups.
6. IL-4, another immune system cytokine, was lower in vapers. IL-4 is normally low in people with gum disease and it increases after treatment, suggesting that the bacteria in the mouths of vapers might actively suppress immune defenses against infection.
Therefore, while vaping may or may not be better for your oral health than normal smoking, it still poses a major gum disease risk that might be even worse than cigarette smoking.
The researchers attributed their findings to the nicotine and other chemicals vaporized by e-cigarettes.
But smoking (e-cigarettes or not) is not the main cause of gum disease. Thousands of readers (both smokers and non-smokers) have completely cleared up their gum disease using the simple, natural approach explained here…