SMOKERS AT HIGHER RISK OF LOSING THEIR TEETH, RESEARCH SHOWS
A new study has confirmed that regular smokers have a significantly increased risk of tooth loss. Male smokers are up to 3.6 times more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers, whereas female smokers were found to be 2.5 times more likely.
Tooth loss remains a major public health problem worldwide. Globally, close to 30% of 65-74 year olds have lost all of their natural teeth. Most teeth are lost as a result of either caries (tooth decay) or chronic periodontitis (gum disease). Smoking is a strong risk factor for periodontitis, so that may go a long way towards explaining the higher rate of tooth loss in smokers.
The association between smoking and tooth loss was stronger among younger people than in the older groups. In addition, the results clearly demonstrated that the association was dose-dependent; heavy smokers had higher risk of losing their teeth than smokers who smoked fewer cigarettes.
The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk. Eventually, an ex-smoker would have the same risk for tooth loss as someone who had never smoked, although this can take more than ten years.
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