What Cigarette Smoke does to the Microbiota of Your Mouth
Your mouth’s microbiome contains over 600 species of bacteria. Some of these are necessary for oral health. Others can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and even oral cancer. In a recent study conducted on 1,204 American adults, it was found that the microbiome of smokers contained a larger number of harmful bacteria and a smaller number of beneficial microorganisms than those of nonsmokers. To be exact, 150 harmful bacterial strains were much higher in smokers and 70 beneficial strains were found in statistically significant lower numbers.
Smoking cigarettes has long been linked to oral cancer and an increased risk for gum disease. This latest study may show why. When the microbiome of the oral cavity is altered chemically, even a solid daily routine and biannual visits for cleanings can’t restore it to normal. As long as cigarettes are being used, there is no way to reduce the risk of serious oral health problems. There is, however, hope for current smokers.
Researchers found that former smokers – those who quit at least 10 years prior to the study – had the same microbiome as people who had never taken the habit up. The moment you quit, your body begins to restore itself, allowing for a return to optimal health within just a few short years. If you have struggled with quitting, now is the best time to address the issue. Our dentists would be happy to discuss methods of quitting and ways you can enhance your oral health after kicking the habit during your next visit to our office.
If you are ready to schedule a dental cleaning and exam, please contact Hardin Advanced Dentistry today. We serve Cincinnati and Dayton from our office in Mason.