Cigarette Smoke Increases Bacteria in the Mouth and Body
Hopefully, you’ve heeded all the warnings about cigarette smoke and have kicked the habit. If, however, you are still smoking, or your children are exposed to others who smoke (grandparents, etc), this article is a must-read!
We’ve all been told that the mouth is one of the dirtiest parts of the human body, as it’s home to millions of germs, some more dangerous than others. A recent study shows that smoking increases bacteria and not only contributes to gum disease, but fights against the body’s immune system as well.
Researchers at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, led by David Scott, PhD, explored the way that tobacco smoke leads to increased bacteria in the body. They identified the ways that cigarette smoke—and its multitude of chemicals—promotes bacterial growth and lowers body immunity.
One finding reveals that cigarette smoke promotes biofilm formation by germs such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Klebsiella pneumonia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Biofilms are multiple microbial groups that can form on teeth and heart valves and in the respiratory tract. Once established, pathogens in the biofilm are difficult to eliminate and often quite resistant to treatment with antibiotics.
Dental plaque is an example of a biofilm. As you know, without removal by your dentist, plaque leads to gum disease, called gingivitis, which is present in the mouths of about 50% of the population. Gingivitis can lead to more severe dental disease, tooth loss and even further damage within the body, such as heart-related infections.
Certainly, there are multiple reasons to quit smoking and to keep your children away from secondhand smoke. Knowing that cigarette smoke can contribute to gum disease and even systemic infections, are two more reasons to kick the habit!