The use of tobacco products and periodontitis have long been linked by the scientific community, but the connection between secondhand smoke and periodontitis has remained elusive– until now.
This month, researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will present the findings of the most comprehensive study yet, a study which appears to show definitively that secondhand smoke has a significant impact on gum health. The researchers present their work for the International Association for Dental Research, but we’ll save you the trip and give you the synopsis here!
Periodontitis is gum disease, characterized by tissue swelling, redness, bleeding, and often discomfort or pain. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, bone abscesses and even bone loss.
It is one of the most widespread oral health problems across the world, and while periodontitis is largely preventable by sound oral hygiene, a host of outside factors can weigh in, determining the disease’s severity or even whether it happens at all. Health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even pregnancy can place patients at a higher risk for periodontitis– and, according to the new study, so does exposure to secondhand smoke.
New results just in
Scientists analyzed data from 3,255 participants who reported never smoking in their lifetime. Each individual had a periodontal exam and donated blood samples. Periodontal exams showed the participants’ levels of periodontal disease: whether it was present at all, and how severe the situation if it was. Blood samples were used to detect the participants’ levels of serum cotinine, which is a metabolite of nicotine.
The results revealed that non-smokers with periodontitis present also had higher levels of serum cotinine. While the scientific community requires further research before drawing conclusions, most researchers are concluding that the link between secondhand smoke is highly likely.
Tobacco and your health
The dangers of tobacco have been in the public eye for years, but many people still struggle with tobacco addition, and unfortunately, new smokers are initiated every day– usually young people who can’t understand the risks involved with “trying” this dangerous drug. For this reason, many public health resources like the ADA, the WHO, as well your Eugene, Oregon dentist, are dedicated to spreading word about the dental dangers of tobacco use, and providing assistance to patients who wish to stop using tobacco.
In addition to increasing the risk of periodontitis, tobacco use stains teeth, harms oral tissues, causes terrible breath– and, according to this study, harms other people exposed to the tobaccos smoke! If you use tobacco, we’d like to help you quit.
Call your Springfield Oregon dentist today for your next appointment— and let’s talk.