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CHICAGO – January 5, 2001 – Pierce Brosnan and Demi Moore have appeared on covers of cigar magazines sending the message that cigar smoking, a growing habit among the young and affluent, is sophisticated. What the covers don't show is models with missing teeth. Yet, according to a study published in the newly released Journal of Periodontology, cigar and pipe smoking may have nearly the same adverse effects on periodontal health and tooth loss as cigarette smoking.

Researchers analyzed 705 individuals ranging in age from 21 to 92 years old, and found that 17.6 percent of current or former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe periodontitis - nearly three times the percent of non-smokers. In addition, they averaged four missing teeth. For each given tobacco product, current smokers were defined as individuals who smoke daily. Former heavy smokers were defined as individuals who had smoked daily for 10 or more years, but had quit smoking. The non-smokers group included individuals who had quit smoking cigarettes after smoking for less than 10 years and those with no history of smoking.


CHICAGO – October 18, 1999 – Not only are smokers more likely to develop periodontal disease and have more severe cases of the disease than nonsmokers are, they are also more susceptible to treatment failure. According to a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Periodontology, smoking impairs healing after non-surgical periodontal treatment, which typically consists of oral hygiene instruction, and scaling and root planing to remove plaque and bacteria from below the gum line.

After six to 10 periodontal appointments in which the goal was to reduce inflammation and probing depths (the amount of space between the teeth and gums), nearly 43 percent of smokers in the study required further periodontal treatment, while only about 11 percent of nonsmokers did. The study included 35 smokers and 35 nonsmokers with periodontal disease.


Understand the Dangers... Surprising as it may sound, many smokers need to be made more aware of the dangers of tobacco use. In fact, just 29 percent of smokers say they believe themselves to be at an above-average risk for heart attack compared with their nonsmoking peers, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in March of 1999.

Obviously, while information about the medical problems associated with smoking – such as lung disease, cancer, heart disease and low-birth-weight infants – is widely available, many smokers seem to have tuned out.

If you are a smoker who is concerned about the effects smoking can have on your health, congratulations! By accessing information about the negative impacts of tobacco use, you are taking the first step toward quitting.

To increase awareness of the dangers of smoking, the American Cancer Society is sponsoring the Great American Smokeout on November 18. Americans are encouraged to quit smoking for a day or to encourage someone else to quite for a day. The idea is to help someone be smoke-free for a day in hopes of motivating that person to quit forever.

The American Academy of Periodontology wants you to understand yet another good reason to quit: Tobacco use is harmful to oral health.

In conjunction with the Great American Smokeout, the American Academy of Periodontology hopes to help educate the public about one specific threat to smokers – periodontal disease. Recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. In addition, following periodontal treatment or any type of oral surgery, the chemicals in tobacco can slow down the healing process and make the treatment results less predictable.

How does smoking increase your risk for periodontal disease? As a smoker, you are more likely than nonsmokers to have the following problems:

  • Calculus – plaque that hardens on your teeth and can only be removed during a professional cleaning
  • Deep pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Loss of the bone and tissue that support your teeth

If the calculus is not removed during a professional cleaning, and it remains below your gum line, the bacteria in the calculus can destroy your gum tissue and cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. When this happens, periodontal pockets form and fill with disease-causing bacteria.

If left untreated, periodontal disease will progress. The pockets between your teeth and gums can grow deeper, allowing in more bacteria that destroy tissue and supporting bone. As a result, the gums may shrink away from the teeth making them look longer. Without treatment, your teeth may become loose, painful and even fall out.

Save Your Smile:

Research shows that smokers loose more teeth than nonsmokers do. In fact, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 20 percent of people over age 65 who have never smoked are toothless, while a whopping 41.3 percent of daily smokers over age 65 are toothless.

In addition, research shows that current smokers don't heal as well after periodontal treatment as former smokers or nonsmokers. But these effects are reversible if the smokers kick the habit before beginning treatment.

Not Just Cigarettes:

Other tobacco products are also harmful to your periodontal health. Smokeless tobacco also can cause gums to recede and increase the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place.

And, a study of cigar and pipe smokers published in the January 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that cigar smokers experience tooth loss and alveolar bone loss at rates equivalent to those of cigarette smokers. Pipe smokers experience tooth loss at a rate similar to cigarette smokers.

Other Oral Problems:

Researches also have found that the following problems occur more often in people who use tobacco products:

  • Oral cancer
  • Bad breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Bone loss
  • Loss of taste
  • Less success with periodontal treatment
  • Less success with dental implants
  • Gum recession
  • Facial wrinkling


CHICAGO – May 30, 2000 – Smoking may be responsible for more than half of the cases of periodontal disease among adults in this country, according to a new study published in the Journal of Periodontology. The study found that current smokers are about four times more likely than people who have never smoked to have advanced periodontal disease. However, 11 years after quitting, former smokers' likelihood of having periodontal disease was not significantly different from those who had never smoked.

Researchers analyzed government health data on 13,650 people aged 18 and older who had their teeth. This is the first study to estimate the proportion of periodontal disease cases that can be attributed to cigarette smoking.

A recent online survey of periodontists conducted by the AAP found that the vast majority of periodontists routinely (79 percent) or most of the time (14 percent) advise their patients to quit smoking.

In addition to being a major cause of tooth loss, periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, respiratory disease and premature babies. PerioArtist

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