Secondhand Smoke: Risk Factor For Periodontitis

secondhand smokeWe are all aware of the fact that smoking is bad for our health. There have been thousands upon thousands of newsletters, videos, articles and documentaries that have been created to inform us that smoking can be dangerous and can cause various ailments. One of the leading causes for lung cancer and oral cancer is tobacco smoking. This is because of the nicotine present in tobacco smoke. Nicotine is a known carcinogen (one that causes cancer). Studies have reported that passive smoking, more commonly known as secondhand smoking, can be equally harmful to one’s health. This is because the destruction caused in the lungs from tobacco is almost the same in a nonsmoker and a smoker.

Recent studies have revealed an astonishing fact that the risk for development of periodontitis is higher in nonsmokers who inhale secondhand smoke compared to those nonsmokers who do not come in contact with smoke at all. Periodontitis is the inflammation of the gums and the supporting tissues. It has very debilitating effects on the mouth and teeth. The common signs of periodontitis are swollen and bleeding gums, periodontal pockets, furcation involvement, gum recession, tooth sensitivity due to receding gums and bone loss. In cases of severe periodontitis one may have periodontal abscesses, loose teeth due to excess bone loss and even tooth loss. Periodontitis is a serious dental problem because one tends to lose healthy teeth due to lack of support or anchorage from the supporting tissues.

To evaluate the effects of secondhand smoke on periodontitis a study was conducted by researchers of the University of North Carolina. These researchers recorded the levels of serum continine. It is a nicotine metabolite that moves around in blood and can be recorded from the blood samples of an individual. For the purpose of study and research, the blood samples of 3,255 nonsmokers were taken into consideration. Apart from that a thorough periodontal examination was also conducted.

The results were tallied and after analysis the reports showed that the development of periodontitis of moderate or severe level was 62% more in exposed nonsmokers than nonexposed nonsmokers. Similarly, exposed nonsmokers were at least 1.5 times more at a risk of developing moderate to severe level of periodontitis as compared to the unexposed counterparts.

This study shows that secondhand smoke has adverse effects in the oral tissue also apart from affecting the lungs. The nonsmokers should be more careful and try to stay away from environmental smoke. Otherwise they will suffer due to someone else’s fault. They should not put themselves at such a risk.