A study published in this month's issue of the Journal of Periodontology found that subjects with periodontitis who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to develop bone loss, the number one cause of tooth loss.
Researchers studied rats that were induced with periodontal disease. One group was not exposed to cigarette smoke while the other two groups were exposed to either 30 days of smoke inhalation produced by non-light cigarettes (cigarettes containing higher tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels) or light cigarettes (cigarettes containing lower tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels). Results showed that bone loss was greater in the subjects exposed to secondhand smoke regardless of if it was smoke from light or non-light cigarettes than those who were exposed to no smoke at all.
"Previous clinical research has proven a strong positive correlation between smoking and gum disease. However, this study is unique in that it evaluated the impact of secondhand smoke on periodontitis," explained study author Getulio da R. Nogueira-Filho, DDS.
"This study really drives home the fact that even if you don't smoke the effects of secondhand smoke can be devastating. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle should include avoiding smoke filled places such as nightclubs, bars and even some restaurants," said Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS and AAP president. "The Academy applauds the cities that are taking steps to make their hospitality industries smoke free so all patrons can enjoy not only a good time but also good overall health."