Researchers working on dental problems in smokers have found that smoking destroys the good bacteria in the mouth, leading to oral diseases and dental cavities.
If at all another reason was needed to motivate smokers to quit, here it is. For years now, dentists have observed that cavities are common in people who smoke. Now, researchers at the Ohio State University have finally connected the dots to say that good bacteria in the mouth that play a protective role are destroyed by smoking.
The team collected oral biofilms from a group of people that had 15 smokers and nonsmokers in apparent good health. These samples were drawn after clinical teeth cleaning on the first, second, fourth and seventh days of the study. When the biofilms were checked, the samples drawn from smokers began exhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in 24 hours in contrast to the non-smokers’ samples.
Ohio State University’s assistant professor of periodontology; Purnima Kumar, who worked on this study published in Infection and Immunity journal said:
“The smoker’s mouth kicks out the good bacteria, and the pathogens are called in. So they’re allowed to proliferate much more quickly than they would in a non-smoking environment.”
Although the exact mechanism involved is unclear, the researchers believe it is linked to cytokines that the body synthesizes to fight infection. In smokers, the mouth contains higher concentrations of cytokines and this is believed to be responsible for the killing of even the good bacteria.
Non-smokers exhibit lower levels of cytokines and this indicates that in them, the body retains its ability to distinguish between healthy and harmful bacteria.
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