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Smoking Leads to Postmenopausal Tooth Loss

Scientists reveal that postmenopausal who have a history of heavy smoking are more likely to lose teeth due to periodontal disease than those who never smoked. Chronic inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth (periodontal or gum disease) has been linked to other chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke.

The recently published study was featured in the Journal of the American Dental Association and was done by researchers at the University at Buffalo. It involved more than 1,000 women who participated in the Buffalo OsteoPerio Study, as part of the Women’s Health Initiative, (WHI), the largest US clinical trial. The recent UB study is the first to look into the smoking histories of participants which allowed researchers to evaluate the causes of tooth loss in postmenopausal women.

Xiaodan Mai, a doctoral student in epidemiology in the UB Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, states that postmenopausal women experience more tooth loss regardless of oral health practices, compared to males of similar ages. Tooth loss has also been linked to poor health outcomes such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis.

In their study, participants completed detailed questionnaires about their smoking history and underwent dental examinations. They also reported every tooth loss to dental examiners. The investigators found that women who smoked heavily (at least one pack of cigarettes daily for 26 years) are twice as likely to lose teeth and six times more likely to experience tooth loss due to periodontal disease compared to non-smokers.

The authors note that cigarette smoking may accelerate gum disease by encouraging the growth of plaque-forming bacteria that reduces the antioxidative effects of saliva. Other negative effects of nicotine includes reduction of bone density, bone mineral factors, and estrogen hormones among women smokers. They believe that their study presents another tangible reason for women to quit smoking.


University at Buffalo. Postmenopausal women who smoked are more likely to lose teeth due to periodontal disease. ScienceDaily.


Posted in: Menopause, News Briefs, Smoking, Women's Health

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