Smokers get perio disease but we don’t know why

Smoking: it's complicated.

A new study from a recent issue of Clinical and Experimental Immunology has complicated the link between smoking a periodontal disease. While it’s well known that smokers have a higher than average risk of the disease, it has been assumed in the past that this was because smoking suppressed their immune system.
However, this new study has shown that smoker’s bodies produce high levels of antibodies to fight off the bacteria that causes periodontal disease.
Experts aren’t sure why smokers are at higher risk for periodontal disease. One idea is that smokers’ immune systems respond differently to bacteria. These study results suggest that the reason is not suppression of antibodies. But some other parts of the immune system may work differently in smokers.
Smokers do get more tartar, or calculus, on their teeth. Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums. For this reason, smokers’ gums may not look red or swollen even if they have early periodontal disease. So they may not know their gums are unhealthy.

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