Smoking Can Cause Gum Disease
Smoking Can Cause Gum Disease
Smoking is bad for your health as we all know because it can cause bronchitis and lung cancer, but here is another nail in the coffin because smoking can cause gum disease too.
It has been suggested that nicotine reduces the size of arteries by constricting them, and this can reduce blood flow, which in the mouth could lead to reduced ability to fight the harmful effects of pathogenic bacteria and thereby giving cause for concern that smoking can cause gum disease.
This may be true to an extent but a recent article reports on the findings from America that conclude that smoking also upsets the balance of bacteria which are in the mouth of everyone since birth, knocking out “good” bacteria and allowing other more harmful bacteria to gain a foothold.
This fits in with the general observation that smokers generally have worse gums than non-smokers so does seem to suggest that smoking can cause gum disease.
The article says:
“Despite the daily disturbance of brushing and flossing, the mouth of a healthy person contains a stable ecosystem of healthy bacteria.
New research shows that the mouth of a smoker is a much more chaotic, diverse ecosystem-and is much more susceptible to invasion by harmful bacteria.
As a group, smokers suffer from higher rates of oral diseases — especially gum disease — than do non-smokers, which is a challenge for dentists, according to Purnima Kumar, assistant professor of periodontology at Ohio State University.
She and her colleagues are involved in a multi-study investigation of the role the body’s microbial communities play in preventing oral disease.”
“A few hours after you’re born, bacteria start forming communities called biofilms in your mouth,” said Kumar. “Your body learns to live with them, because for most people, healthy biofilms keep the bad bacteria away.”
“When you compare a smoker and non-smoker, there’s a distinct difference,” said Kumar. “The first thing you notice is that the basic ‘lawn,’ (biofilm), which would normally contain thriving populations made of a just few types of helpful bacteria, is absent in smokers.”
“The team found that for non-smokers, bacterial communities regain a similar balance of species to the communities that were scraped away during cleaning.
Disease-associated bacteria are largely absent, and low levels of cytokines show that the body is not treating the helpful biofilms as a threat.”
“By contrast, smokers start getting colonized by pathogens-bacteria that we know are harmful-within 24 hours. It takes longer for smokers to form a stable microbial community, and when they do, it’s a pathogen-rich community.”
“Smokers also have higher levels of cytokines, indicating that the body is mounting defenses against infection. Clinically, this immune response takes the form of red, swollen gums-called gingivitis-that can lead to the irreversible bone loss of periodontitis”
“In smokers, however, the body is not just trying to fight off harmful bacteria. The types of cytokines in smokers’ gum swabs showed the researchers that smokers’ bodies were treating even healthy bacteria as threatening.”
Here is a short video reinforcing the fact that smoking can cause gum disease which can lead to periodontitis.
The precise mechanisms behind these findings are not yet completely understood, but there seems little doubt that smoking taints your breath and your clothes, and smoking can cause gum disease. It contributes to facial skin aging, lip and mouth cancer, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, and ultimately kills you, one way or another.