It has been widely accepted for years that smokers had a higher risk of periodontal disease, but a recent study performed at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill shows that secondhand smoke also increases the risk.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, using data from another study that included 2,379 nonsmokers ages 53–74, have concluded that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke for a few hours each day can double a person’s risk of severe periodontal disease. People exposed to secondhand smoke for 25 hours or less each week had a 29 percent increased chance and for those exposed more than 26 hours the odds were twice as high.
There have been two other major acknowledgments by the dental field in regards to periodontal disease and smoking over the last ten years. In 2004, the U.S. Surgeon General announced that there was enough scientific evidence to infer that smoking increased the chances of periodontal disease. In 2006, the U.S. General Surgeon went even further to state that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
It likely comes as no surprise to you that smoking could have an eroding effect on the teeth, but it may be surprising that simply inhaling smoke from those around you could have a dramatic effect on your teeth. In order to be proactive and preventative, please remember these three cosmetic dentistry tips:
- Avoid prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke
- Brush twice a day
- Floss daily
- Visit your dentist for regular cleanings