According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 16 million people living in this country with a smoking-related illness. Because more than three-quarters of cases of oral cancer are thought to be linked to smoking, researchers sought to find out why. There are approximately 600 species of bacteria in the human mouth. One study (all participants were age 50 and older) focused on comparing the oral bacteria of smokers with those of non-smokers. It was found that the oral environment of smokers was very different from that of non-smokers and ex-smokers. Levels of 150 species of oral bacteria were significantly higher in smokers, including ten percent more species of Streptococcus, which is known to promote tooth decay.
Today’s column further outlines the importance of not smoking. One of the most important parts of oral health care happens at home. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. At West Brookfield Dental, we invite your questions about the health of your gums and teeth. We are located at 9 West Main St., West Brookfield. Please call 508.867.2777 and let us make an appointment for your next dental health appointment.
P.S. According to the research mentioned above, it takes approximately ten years for oral bacteria to return to normal levels after a smoker quits.