Smokers at a Greater Risk for Gum Disease

October 5, 2012

Harmful effects of smoking can support the progression of gum disease.

Smoking is a serious risk factor for periodontal disease and compromises clinical healing following therapy. Smoking suppresses the body’s immune response, triggers the release of cytokines which destroy healthy connective tissue and prevent these cells from organizing and healing. Despite a great deal of research confirming the role of smoking in the progression of periodontal disease, treatment and maintenance are the same for smokers and non-smokers.

There are no well-established protocols to follow when treating established protocols to follow when treating periodontal patients who continue to smoke. Researchers at the University of Alabama, School of Dentistry in Birmingham, Alabama, reviewed the literature to determine if the use of host modulation therapy in smokers would be beneficial with both scaling and root planing and during maintenance care.

Clinical Implications: Based on the research, it makes sense to offer a host modulation drug to smokers being treated for periodontal disease and smokers receiving periodontal disease.