Smokers have been shown to not only suffer with a more aggressive form periodontal disease but also to show a poorer response to treatment. They have more teeth affected by periodontal disease; have deeper pocketing, less bleeding and greater bony destruction. Data also shows smokers lose more teeth than those who do not.
The differences are due to constriction of blood vessels, suppression of the immune system and changes in the oral cavity as a result of the irritants and chemicals found within the cigarette smoke. Smokers suffering with periodontal disease are therefore more likely to require a specialist referral and the use of antimicrobials.
Are you living at high risk for gum disease?
Smoking: Numerous studies have shown that smokers have more gum disease. Smokers have increased levels of tartar in the mouth, and experience more tissue irritation, which makes their gums more susceptible to disease. Smokers have more bone loss and heal less quickly than non-smokers.
Stress: When our immune system is stressed it is difficult to fight off the bacteria that cause gum infections.
Dental neglect: Avoiding the dentist is a lifestyle choice that puts you at risk of contracting diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums.
Floss or die! Your hygienist or dentist works to prevent infection in your mouth from entering the bloodstream and reaching vital organs.
Heart disease: Gum inflammation products and bacteria in gum disease can cause heart disease, and in some cases, double the risk of a fatal heart attack. In addition, bacteria from your mouth may combine with blood-clotting cells called platelets, forming heart-stopping blood clots.
Stroke: New studies show that 70% of the fatty deposits of stroke sufferers contain bacteria, of which 40% comes from the mouth.
Diabetics: This group of people are more likely to have gum disease than most people and gum disease makes it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.
Premature birth: Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be as much as seven times more likely to have a baby born early. Some research suggests that gum disease may increase the level of hormones that induce labour.