PEOPLE WHO SMOKE WON’T WANT TO READ THIS. Because, if premature aging, bad breath, depressed immune system, reduced ability to taste food, nagging cough, and increased risk of cancer weren’t enough – Ohio State University has new research to make the idea of quitting more difficult to ignore.
Smokers are up to six times more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth loss than non-smokers – BUT WHY?
LET’S START WITH A SURPRISING FACT…
Our mouths have bacteria that actually help keep bad breath away. Researcher Purnima Kumar explains, “A few hours after you’re born, bacteria start forming communities called biofilms in your mouth. Your body learns to live with them, because for most people, healthy biofilms keep the bad bacteria away.”
BENEFICIAL BACTERIA (Yes, Not All Bacteria is Bad)
Kumar’s study shows healthy non-smoker mouths have a stable amount of the beneficial bacteria that protect you from many oral diseases. She also studied the mouths of people who smoke and saw they have lower rates of the helpful bacteria. This lack of helpful bacteria has been shown to increase susceptibility to harmful bacteria and gum disease.
“The smoker’s mouth kicks out the good bacteria, and the pathogens are called in. So they’re allowed to proliferate much more quickly than they would in a non-smoking environment.”
RESEARCH STUDY IN PRACTICE Dr. Brucken and Dr. Stubbs both see the validity of this study at Comfort Dental. Our patients who smoke consistently have higher rates of oral disease and difficulty healing. Understanding that smoking contributes to the body attacking healthy bacteria in the mouth also contributes to cavity-causing bacteria.
HIGH RATES OF DENTAL CAVITIES
In addition to our smoking patients having high rates of gum disease, the impact doesn’t stop there. Having a mouth with a high rate of unhealthy bacteria increases the build-up of plaque (soft stuff) and tarter (hard stuff) on the teeth. This scenario helps to set up a perfect environment for infection in their gums and tooth decay is pronounced.
RAPIDLY SPREADING EFFECT
Once active tooth decay sets in, the bacteria causing decay can have a rapidly spreading effect. Sometimes patients with dental cavities delay having the fillings placed and decay removed. While delaying the removal of tooth decay is not recommended for any of our patients, those who smoke tend to run the risk of higher tooth decay rates.
The Ohio State University study showing the link between smoking and the body “kicking out” good bacteria in the mouth help to explain high gum infection rates and tooth decay.
COMFORT DENTAL CARES
The dentists and hygienists at Comfort Dental strive to educate all of our patients, with a special emphasis on those who currently smoke. Eliminating smoking – combined with treatment to control gum infection and tooth decay – can make incredible improvements to overall health!
Please let us know if you have additional questions about this or other dental topics & we look forward seeing you soon!