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Secondhand Smoke Proves to Be No Joke on Oral Health

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Secondhand Smoke and Oral Health

Secondhand Smoke Proves to Be No Joke on Oral Health

April 09, 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.
Take Action
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends the following home care:
  • Brush twice daily with a soft brush with rounded bristles.
  • Use small circular motions and short back and forth motions, avoiding hard back and forth motions.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brush the tongue frequently.
  • Use plenty of floss – an 18-inch piece is ideal.
  • Floss with a sawing motion and curve the floss around each tooth on the front and back sides.
  • Floss from below the gum up to the top of the tooth.
  • Rinse after flossing.

  • Researchers studied rats that were induced with periodontal disease. One group was not exposed to any 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, D.D.S.

    “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 night clubs, bars and even some restaurants,” said Dr. Preston D. Miller, 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.”

    Cigarette smoking may well be the major preventable risk factor for periodontal disease. To find out if you are at risk for periodontal diseases, please visit the AAP’s Web site and take a free risk assessment test. A referral to a periodontist in your area and brochure samples including one titled Tobacco & Gum Disease are available by calling 800-FLOSS-EM or visiting the AAP's Web site at www.perio.org.

    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.

    For more information, contact the AAP Public Affairs Department at 312/573-3243 or 312/573-3242.

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