Smoking exacerbates periodontitis

Based on the number of cigarettes smoked per day, smokers are up to 20 times more likely to develop periodontitis than non-smokers, depending on the presence of additional risk factors. In fact, according to scientific studies, more than 70% of periodontitis patients are smokers.

smoking cigarette

Fewer symptoms – faster pathogenesis

The numerous ingredients of cigarettes have a varied influence on tissue, the microbiological colonization of the body and the immune system. Of course, this is also reflected in the periodontium. Nicotine use leads to reduced blood flow in periodontal tissue, for example. The associated lowering of oxygen levels is conducive to the growth of anaerobic periodontitis-associated bacteria. These subsequently proliferate more readily. The reduced blood flow means that the telltale signs of periodontal disease such as swelling, redness and bleeding gums are also often absent. The disease therefore goes undetected and is often not noticed until serious damage has already been done.

Limited regeneration

Just like with wound healing in general, the capacity of the gums to regenerate is greatly limited in smokers. This means not only that the disease progresses more rapidly but that healing is hampered too. The gums do not adhere to the neck of the tooth again as well and the periodontal pockets are not eliminated as effectively. For this reason, periodontal treatments are not as successful in most cases as in non-smokers.

It is therefore particularly important for smokers who develop periodontitis to give up nicotine consumption. Because of the close link between genetics and smoking, this is especially applicable where a genetic predisposition exists to an increased inflammatory response.