Newswise — A periodontist and microbial ecologist, Dr. Purnima S. Kumar is the Professor of Periodontology at the University of Michigan, and uses her clinical skills and training to investigate the myriad ways in which the human microbiome can be harnessed to promote health. She firmly believes that oral health and systemic diseases are intricately connected, and that global health can only be achieved when physicians and dentists collaborate to identify at-risk individuals and deliver integrated care. 

Her work on the effects of vaping has been extensive, including her work with the American Dental Association on the creation of a public service announcement on the health effects of vaping, as well as providing a deposition to the Food and Drug Administration on the adverse effects of oral vaping. In May of 2020, she was one of the authors of a study that appeared in Science Advances, titled, “Adverse effects of electronic cigarettes on the disease-naive oral microbiome.”

The study touched on:

  • Although e-cigarettes have been available in the U.S. market since 2009, little is known regarding their effects on the oral ecosystem.
  • To the best of their knowledge, the investigation provides some of the earliest experimental evidence documenting the effects of e-cigarette use on the oral microbial ecosystem; and it begins to explore the potential mechanisms that underlie this shift.
  • The present study questioned the safety of e-cigarettes and the harm reduction narrative promoted by advertising campaigns.

In February 2020, she published “Living under a cloud” in the Journal of the American Dental Association, where she noted that despite available research on the impact e-cigarettes can have on health, information on its effects on “the oral cavity, such as periodontal disease, caries development, or oral cancer, is limited.”

Dr. Kumar is available to discuss her past research, clinical experience and new studies pertaining to the effects of vaping.