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HHS HealthBeat (May 21, 2013)

Smoking away teeth


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Smoking and Your Health

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Smoking can do more than make your teeth yellow. A study indicates smoking can make teeth go away. Researcher Xiaodan Mai of the University at Buffalo in New York found this in data on about 1,100 postmenopausal women. She compared periodontal disease or gum disease with caries or tooth decay as reasons for tooth loss.

Smoking is an important risk factor for tooth loss in older women.

“The more women smoked, the more likely they are to experience tooth loss due to periodontal disease. This pattern was not seen in tooth loss due to caries.”

Mai says tobacco has chemicals that are bad for periodontal health, and also fosters bacteria that are bad.  

The study in the Journal of the American Dental Association was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 20, 2013