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Smoking Bullies Good Bacteria

Consider the mouth as one busy community. Inside lives a population of healthy bacteria that’s on alert day and night to drive away other harmful microorganisms (pathogens) that are determined to take over their neighborhood.

Smokers are easier candidates for disease. A new study sponsored by Philips Oral Healthcare concluded that smoking causes the body to turn against its own good bacteria.

SEE ALSO: Oral Cancer: Are You at Risk?

Researcher Purnima Kumar, assistant professor of Periodontology at Ohio State University said, “The smoker's mouth kicks out the good bacteria, and the pathogens are called in. So they're allowed to proliferate much more quickly than they would in a non-smoking environment."

During professional dental cleaning, bacterial communities (biofilms) are scraped away and removed from the mouth. For nonsmokers, the good bacterial community reclaims their place in the mouth and disease-associated microorganisms are essentially absent. Also, low levels of cytokines indicate that the body is not treating the biofilms as a threat.

On the other hand, smokers get invaded by pathogens within 24 hours. Also, smokers present higher levels of cytokines thereby showing that the body is intensifying defenses against infections. The type of immune response gathered from smokers was also treating even healthy bacteria as threatening.

The study suggests that smokers need a more aggressive form of treatment. Kumar said, “Even after a professional cleaning, they're still at a very high risk for getting these pathogens back in their mouths.”

Smoking certainly does a lot of tricks and it’s especially enthralled in creating havoc inside our bodies. To date, tobacco also remains to be a major cause of oral cancer.

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