Secondhand smoke proves to be no 'joke' on oral health

April 03, 2007

CHICAGO -- A study published in this month's issue of the Journal of Periodontology found that subjects with periodontitis who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to develop bone loss, the number one cause of tooth loss.

Researchers studied rats that were induced with periodontal disease. One group was not exposed to cigarette smoke while the other two groups were exposed to either 30 days of smoke inhalation produced by non-light cigarettes (cigarettes containing higher tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels) or light cigarettes (cigarettes containing lower tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels). Results showed that bone loss was greater in the subjects exposed to secondhand smoke regardless of if it was smoke from light or non-light cigarettes than those who were exposed to no smoke at all.

"Previous clinical research has proven a strong positive correlation between smoking and gum disease. However, this study is unique in that it evaluated the impact of secondhand smoke on periodontitis," explained study author Getulio da R. Nogueira-Filho, DDS.

"This study really drives home the fact that even if you don't smoke the effects of secondhand smoke can be devastating. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle should include avoiding smoke filled places such as nightclubs, bars and even some restaurants," said Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS and AAP president. "The Academy applauds the cities that are taking steps to make their hospitality industries smoke free so all patrons can enjoy not only a good time but also good overall health."
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Cigarette smoking may be the major preventable risk factor for periodontal disease. To asses your oral health, take the AAP's online test to assess your gum disease risk. A referral to a periodontist in your area and free brochure samples including Periodontal Diseases: What You Need to Know and Tobacco and Periodontal Diseases: Targeting Tobacco Use are available by calling 800-FLOSS-EM (800-356-7736) or visiting the AAP's Web site at www.perio.org.

Click here for more about the links between smoking and periodontal disease please located on the AAP Web site.

The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A copy of the Journal of Periodontology article "Low-and high-yield cigarette smoke inhalations potentiates bone loss during ligature-induced periodontitis" is available to the media by contacting the AAP Public Affairs Department at 312/573-3243. The public and/or non-AAP members can view a study abstract online, and the full-text of the study may be accessed online for $20.00 at http://www.joponline.org/.

American Academy of Periodontology

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