If the constant stream of bad health consequences related to smoking weren’t already enough for you, your Newnan dentist would like to remind you of one more. Your dental health is at risk each time you light up. We all know that smoking can destroy your lungs and leave you susceptible to cancer. Smoking also wreaks havoc inside your mouth and exposes you to additional oral health problems that could requie dental treatment. An article at Science Daily from February 15, 2012 reports:
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 nonsmokers, 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.
“The smoker’s mouth kicks out the good bacteria, and the pathogens are called in,” said Kumar. “So they’re allowed to proliferate much more quickly than they would in a non-smoking environment.”
The results suggest that dentists may have to offer more aggressive treatment for smokers and would have good reason to suggest quitting smoking, Kumar said.
“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.”
She likens a healthy biofilm to a lush, green lawn of grass. “When you change the dynamics of what goes into the lawn, like too much water or too little fertilizer,” she said, “you get some of the grass dying, and weeds moving in.” For smokers, the “weeds” are problem bacteria known to cause disease.
To put it simply, your mouth has good bacteria just like your digestive tract has good bacteria. Smoking can destroy your good bacteria and make you vulnerable to gum disease or worse. While your Newnan dentist, Dr. McManus, can’t eliminate the dangers of smoking, he can help you keep your mouth healthy in spite of your worst habits. Call today for an appointment: McManus Family & Cosmetic Dentistry (770) 254-1134.
For a full text of the Science Daily article cited, click here.