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Vaping and gum disease
  • Experts report that a rising number of teenagers in the UAE is becoming hooked on vaping.
  • Studies show that vaping disrupts the oral microbiome and contributes to gum disease.

Vaping or the use of e-cigarettes has been highly marketed as a safer alternative to traditional smoking.

In the UAE, the law forbids the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but experts report a rising number of teenagers who is becoming addicted to vaping.

What do we know about vaping?

E-cigarettes generally contain fewer than the 7,000 toxic chemicals in regular cigarettes, but they are still not safe.

Most vape brands contain nicotine which is known to be highly addictive, harmful to the brain development of teens and young adults, and detrimental to the health of pregnant women and toxic to developing fetuses.

The aerosol in e-cigarettes can contain cancer-causing chemicals and tiny particles that reach deep into lungs and harm the body.

In extreme cases, vaping has led to hospitalization and deaths.

SEE ALSO: US study finds gum disease may increase risk of some cancers

Woman vaping

How is vaping related to gum disease?

  1. A recent study held by researchers at New York University highlights how e-cigarettes disrupt the balance of bacteria in the mouth and contribute to gum disease. They found that vaping was associated with different levels of certain cytokines (proteins that help regulate the immune system) that cause an imbalance in oral bacteria and can worsen gum disease by making people more prone to inflammation and infection.

  2. In 2020, a research published in the journal iScience analyzed the oral microbiome of three participating groups - e-cigarette users, regular cigarette smokers, and those who had never smoked. They concluded that gum disease or infection was significantly higher among cigarette smokers 72.5%, followed by e-cigarette users 42.5% and non-smokers 28.2%. They also discovered that the vapers in the group had an abundance of Porphyromonas bacteria which reflects compromised gum health.

  3. Researchers at Ohio State University published a study in Science Advances and concluded that the oral microbiome of e-cigarette users is teeming with potent infection-causing organisms that put vapers at substantial risk for oral problems ranging from gum disease to cancer.

    “E-cigarettes stress the bacterial communities that live in your mouth, and they encase themselves in slime. So they're no longer good bacteria and the inflammatory response is through the roof. People are walking around thinking they're healthy, but they are just primed for disease," said Dr. Purnima Kumar, professor of periodontology at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study.

Vaping is relatively new, and we know less about it compared to the decades of research that proves the injurious effects of cigarette smoking to our oral and overall health. However, new evidence goes to show that vaping is neither safe nor risk-free.

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