Few habits offer the kind of serious long-term health consequences as smoking. A smoking habit can negatively impact an individual’s overall health by increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, while also damaging an individual’s oral health by increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. For these reasons and many more, breaking the smoking habit can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life for years to come.
One group of people that can benefit even more from quitting smoking is those who suffer from psoriasis. According to a new study, researchers have found links that suggest individuals with psoriasis who smoke have a dramatically higher risk of developing severe periodontal disease when compared to non-smokers who are psoriasis-free. While evidence of the link between psoriasis and periodontal disease had previously been established, this study marks the first time researchers considered smoking as a potential permissive factor.
New Evidence Uncovered
Conducted by researchers at the University of Szeged’s Faculty of Dentistry in Hungary, the study examined 82 patients with psoriasis who underwent an oral examination for periodontal disease. Based on how each participant scored on the examination, they were placed into one of four categories classified by the severity of the their gum disease. Tobacco use and demographic information was also collected in the survey by researchers.
Analysis of the data found that a link did exist between periodontal disease and psoriasis, and it showed that both smoking and psoriasis rank as significant risk factors for the development of periodontal disease of all degrees of severity. However, in cases where both risk factors were present, researchers discovered that the risk of developing periodontal disease was 24 times higher than in non-smokers. This equates to approximately four times the combined risk factor for periodontal disease as smoking and psoriasis represent individually.
Researchers caution that these preliminary findings have yet to be confirmed in any additional studies, but that the results do seem to indicate that these two risk factors do combine with one another in a synergistic way to greatly increase an individual’s chances of developing periodontal disease.
To determine what lies behind this connection, researchers have turned their attention to studying specific immunological mechanisms that may help explain this phenomenon.
Dangers of Periodontal Disease
As if the effects of smoking on an individual’s oral health weren’t bad enough, the severe increased risk of periodontal disease in psoriasis patients who smoke are exposed to could greatly impact their long-term health.
When left untreated, periodontal disease slowly erodes away at the root and bone structure that hold teeth into position. When the disease progresses, patients will experience teeth that move and shift as their foundation erodes. This can lead to permanent tooth loss.
Studies have also shown links between periodontal disease and a number of chronic health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Fortunately, periodontal disease can be avoided by practicing quality oral hygiene, which means brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. However, for psoriasis who smoke, practicing adequate oral hygiene may not be enough to offset their risk of periodontal disease.
If you would like to talk about periodontal disease or have any other dental questions please contact our Hillsdale Oregon Dental office today.