Smokers Have High Risk For Gum Disease

Posted on Aug 14, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you smoke, you already know your risk for heart and lung disease is much greater than for adults who don’t smoke. You may be surprised, however, to learn that you also have a greater risk for developing gum disease.

Current smokers are 4 times more likely to have periodontal (gum) disease than those who have never smoked. Ex-smokers who have not smoked in over a decade also have no increased risk, according to the findings published in the Journal of Periodontology. Overall, nearly 53% of gum disease of those in a recent study was attributed to current and former smoking.

The findings of this study found:
• Fifty-five percent of the study’s participants with gum disease were current smokers and nearly 22% were former smokers.
• Current smokers of more than 1-1/2 packs per day were nearly 6 times more likely to have gum disease than non-smokers.
• Those who smoked less than half a pack daily were nearly 3 times more likely to have gum disease.

Tobacco tends to suppress the body’s immune system, reducing its ability to fight infection. Smoking also inhibits the development of blood vessels, slowing the healing of damaged gum tissue.

The US Surgeon General has said, “Smoking cessation [stopping smoking] represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”

Smoking is not an easy habit to kick because it becomes an addiction. However, many people quit, successfully, every day. For helpful tips to quit, go to:

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