Throw Away the Cigarettes!

Published Online: Thursday, April 1, 2004

The results of a new study may have smokers thinking twice about lighting up before periodontal work. Published recently in the Journal of Periodontology, Swedish researchers looked at why tobacco smoking impairs the outcome of surgical and nonsurgical periodontal therapy.

"In this study, we investigated the relationship between tobacco smoking and the inflammatory response in smokers who consumed 10 to 20 cigarettes per day," said Michael P. Rethman, DDS, MS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). "What we found in tobacco smokers is that the body's defense mechanism was weakened, whereas the defense mechanism in nonsmokers promoted a more favorable healing response."

Furthermore, research has indicated that tobacco smoking frees enzymes that could increase the chances of periodontitis and bone and attachment fibers that support the teeth and hold them in the jaw. Oral health will improve, once smokers kick the habit.

"Patients who want to quit smoking are urged to increase brushing and flossing their teeth and gums," added Dr. Rethman.

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