Smoking Cigarettes Effects on Teeth: Smoking Alters the Microbiota of the Mouth
According to information derived from the ISME Journal, smoking cigarettes results in the significant alteration of the microbiota of the mouth. Not only does this change in the microbiota result in an increased risk for developing tooth decay, but, it also results in the inability of the mouth to successfully break down the toxins in which it is exposed. In the United States alone, smoking cigarettes is considered to be the number one reason many develop preventable diseases.
It is also considered to be the number one cause of death. Annually, approximately 480,000 people die as a result of smoking cigarettes. This means that 20% of all deaths that occur within the United States are caused by smoking cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at any given time, at least 16 million individuals in the United States suffer from an illness that results from smoking cigarettes.
Despite these devastating facts, recent statistics indicate that a total of nearly 17% of all Americans older than 18 are smokers. If you are one of the 40 million smokers in the United States, continue reading to learn how your habit may detrimentally impact your dental health.
Evidence Derived from Research
A lot of research has been conducted in recent years on imbalances involving the microbiota within the gastrointestinal tract. Most – but not all – of the people that suffer from these imbalances are smokers of tobacco products. Those that are found to have these imbalances in their gastrointestinal tract are at higher risk for developing immune disorders.
The most common of these disorders include Crohn’s disease and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Smokers may have an imbalance of microbiota within the gastrointestinal tract and the mouth. Studies have established that there are about 600 different species of bacteria contained within the human mouth.
When an individual smokes cigarettes these species are altered. Statistics indicate that approximately 75% of all of the oral cancers currently in existence are linked to smoking cigarettes. There is a very real possibility that microbiota changes could increase the risk for cancer.
Streptococcus Abounds in a Smoker’s Mouth
Recent studies have been performed involving genetic tests that are extremely precise. These tests were conducted to thoroughly investigate the overall impact that smoking has on the composition and the activities associated with the oral-based microbiota. A total of 1,204 individual samples of mouthwash were given to adults that are registered in a massive study on cancer risk.
All of the participants of the study were over 50 years of age. In total, there were 112 individuals that currently smoke, 571 people who had once smoked but had successfully quit, and another 521 people that never smoked. Upon analyzing the bacteria of the mouth of the volunteers, the following was established:
- The oral-based microbiome of those that smoke cigarettes is much different than those that do not smoke.
- There were 150 bacteria-based species that were higher in the mouths of smokers and another 70 species that were lower than those that do not smoke.
- A total of 4.6% of the bacteria found in the mouth of smokers was proteobacteria. This substance made up 11.7% in those that did not smoke. This substance plays a role in the breakdown of toxic chemicals in the mouth.
- Smokers had a total of 10% more Streptococcus in their mouth than non-smokers.
- Those that had recently smoked and quit were found to contain normal levels of oral-based microbiome.
It is a known fact that smoking cigarettes is dangerous to the health. Now, evidence suggests that it changes the microbial makeup of the mouth. This, in turn, results in a higher risk of developing oral health complications. Additionally, it is found to increase the smoker’s chance for developing cancer.
If you are a smoker, it is imperative that you maintain a regular schedule in seeing your dentist for cleanings and evaluations. Above all, though, you should make it a priority to completely quit smoking.