Research says smokers more likely to lose teeth


European researchers report in a study that smokers are at a higher risk than the general population of losing their teeth.

The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, was conducted with the data of 23,376 participants. The results showed that male smokers were up to 3.6 times more likely to lose their teeth than nonsmokers, and that female smokers were found to be 2.5 times more likely.

Dr. Thomas Dietrich, the lead author of the study, said in a news release, "Most teeth are lost as a result of either caries or chronic periodontitis. We know that smoking is a strong risk factor in periodontitis, so that may go a long way towards explaining the higher rate of tooth loss in smokers." Caries are tooth decay, and periodontitis is gum disease.

Compounding the matter is that smoking can mask gum bleeding, with the gums of a smoker appearing to be healthier than they actually are, the study says. As a result, the effects of gum disease don’t immediately appear "until it is quite far down the line," Dr. Dietrich said.

The authors also found that the impact of smoking on tooth loss appeared to be dose dependent. In other words, those that smoke more are more likely to have more tooth loss.

The silver lining in the study is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk of losing teeth significantly. After a decade of not smoking, an ex-smoker would have the same risk for tooth loss as someone who had never smoked, the study says.

To read the abstract, go to

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

More Articles You May Like

Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.

Keep your teeth clean with an oral health routine.

Establishing an oral health routine is important for a healthy mouth. Try one of our oral health products to help you establish a schedule.