Beyond lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases, a recent study says smoking also weakens the immune system of the teeth.
This discovery is one more bad news for smokers, and another reason to quit smoking.
According to the study, researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found out that smoking weakens the ability for pulp in teeth to fight illness and disease.
This, they said, means smokers have fewer defence mechanisms on the inside of their teeth.
“That might explain why smokers have poorer endodontic outcomes and delayed healing than non-smokers,” said Anita Aminoshariae, associate professor of endodontics.
“Imagine TNF-? and hBD-2 are among the soldiers in a last line of defense fortifying a castle. Smoking kills these soldiers before they even have a chance at mounting a solid defense.”
Aminoshariae said there has been little research into the endodontic effects of smoking, adding that this new preliminary research set out to explain the possible contributing factors.
The study participants included 32 smokers and 37 nonsmokers with endodontic pulpitis, commonly known as dental-tissue inflammation.
The findings showed that smokers had worse outcomes than nonsmokers, with greater chances of developing gum disease and nearly two times more likely to require a root canal.
Aminoshariae noted that interestingly, two patients who quit smoking had their defences returned.
“We began with a look at the dental pulp of smokers compared with nonsmokers,” she said.
“We hypothesized that the natural defenses would be reduced in smokers; we didn’t expect them to have them completely depleted.”
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Endodontics.