Smoking may put you at higher tooth loss risk
Date: 11 November 2015
"We know that smoking is a strong risk factor for periodontitis, so that may go a long way towards explaining the higher rate of tooth loss in smokers," said Mr Dietrich.
Smoking can mask gum bleeding, a key symptom of periodontitis. As a result, the gums of a smoker can appear to be healthier than they actually are.
"It's really unfortunate that smoking can hide the effects of gum disease as people often don't see the problem until it is quite far down the line," Dietrich said.
"The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk fairly quickly. Eventually, an ex-smoker would have the same risk for tooth loss as someone who had never smoked, although this can take more than ten years," he said.
"Gum disease and consequential tooth loss may be the first noticeable effect on a smoker's health," said Kolade Oluwagbemigun, from the German Institute of Human Nutrition.
"Therefore, it might give people the motivation to quit before the potential onset of a life-threatening condition such as lung disease or lung cancer," Oluwagbemigun said.
The findings were independent of other risk factors such as diabetes, and are based on data from 23,376 participants which aimed to evaluate the associations between smoking, smoking cessation and tooth loss in three different age groups. The association between smoking and tooth loss was stronger among younger people than in the older groups. The results clearly demonstrated that the association was dose-dependent; heavy smokers had higher risk of losing their teeth than smokers who smoked fewer cigarettes.
The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research. Story First Published: September 15, 2015 14:58 IST