Changes in Oral Bacteria among Smokers Increases Cardiovascular Disease Risk, Study Shows

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Dentist and father of Biotechnologist Giacomo Antonello amazed patients with accurate diagnostic abilities linking oral health to heart and diabetes issues which empirical studies support. Giacomo’s recent research with colleagues at Eurac Research Institute for Biomedicine suggests that in smokers, changes in oral bacteria may contribute to heightened cardiovascular disease risks.

Oral bacteria changes in smokers heightens heart disease

In the CHRIS study in Val Venosta, researchers investigated the impact of smoking on the oral microbiome and the changes that occur upon quitting. The study analyzed saliva samples from over 1600 individuals—a significant number in this research area. The salivary microbiome is a burgeoning field with limited large-scale studies, making these findings valuable for understanding the effects of smoking and cessation on oral bacteria.

Microbiome research, a nascent field, has gained prominence in understanding the crucial role of trillions of microorganisms residing in and on humans, especially in the digestive tract. While the intestinal microbiome is a focus of intensive research, the sparser microbial population in the mouth presents an accessible avenue for study through saliva sampling. Researchers aim to explore oral flora changes as potential biomarkers for disease diagnosis, offering a convenient diagnostic tool for healthcare systems.

In the CHRIS Study, participants provided 5 milliliters of saliva categorized by smoking status (current, former, or never smokers). The research utilized 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis to characterize the oral microbial community, offering insights into species representation and frequency in each participant’s mouth. This technique serves as a widely accepted method for bacterial identification.

Smoking connected to oral diseases

Giacomo’s CHRIS Study revealed that non-smokers have distinct oral microbiomes from current or recent smokers, with cigarette consumption impacting aerobic bacteria that require oxygen. Continuous smoking reduces these bacteria, gradually recovering when one quits, becoming indistinguishable from non-smokers after five smoke-free years.

The long-lasting effects of smoking raise questions about potential connections to diseases such as periodontitis and cardiovascular issues. The study suggests that changes in the oral microbiome, particularly in nitrate-reducing bacteria, may contribute to increased risks, though further research is needed to confirm this hypothesis.

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