Does Secondhand Smoke Threaten Your Oral Health?

Cigarette smoking is bad for your oral health, and it’s likely marijuana smoking is similar. Its impact on circulation reduces the resources your gums have to fight oral bacteria, leading to gum disease, and your gums are less likely to heal if you’re a smoker. Smoking-related dry mouth reduces saliva, your body’s natural defense against bacteria. The overall effect is an increase in your risk of lost teeth, possibly three times or more, depending on the study.

But what about secondhand smoke, is it just as damaging to your oral health?

Some Studies Say “Yes.”

Several studies have been done to test the impact of secondhand smoke on gum disease risk. They have come up with several different conclusions about risk levels, with some saying the risk is about 30% higher and others saying the risk is more than twice as high (130% increase). Some studies also link the risk to the amount of exposure, with 25 hours or less of exposure to secondhand smoking causing significantly less impact than 26 hours or more.

Mature man smoking a cigarette
A recent comprehensive review, though, suggests that we just don’t know enough about the link to say certainly whether secondhand smoke exposure really increases gum disease risk or not.

Will Secondhand Smoke Put Dental Implants at Risk?

Cigarette smoke is one of the biggest dangers to the success of dental implants. In addition to increasing gum disease risk, which is the biggest threat to your dental implants, nicotine affects your body’s ability to heal bone. Nicotine exposure can cause your body to build soft, fibrous tissue instead of bone, and that fibrous tissue can’t support the dental implant.

There have been no studies on the magnitude of this effect from secondhand smoke, but it’s probably best to reduce or avoid exposure to secondhand smoke in the time leading up to a dental implant procedure and during your recovery period.

If you would like to learn more about battling oral health risks, including secondhand smoke, please call (303) 759-5652 for an appointment with a Denver dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care.

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