Navigation Links
In the mouth, smoking zaps healthy bacteria, welcomes pathogens
Date:2/15/2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- According to a new study, smoking causes the body to turn against its own helpful bacteria, leaving smokers more vulnerable to disease.

Despite the daily disturbance of brushing and flossing, the mouth of a healthy person contains a stable ecosystem of healthy bacteria. New research shows that the mouth of a smoker is a much more chaotic, diverse ecosystemand is much more susceptible to invasion by harmful bacteria.

As a group, smokers suffer from higher rates of oral diseases -- especially gum disease -- than do nonsmokers, which is a challenge for dentists, according to PurnimaKumar, assistant professor of periodontology at Ohio State University. She and her colleagues are involved in a multi-study investigation of the role the body's microbial communities play in preventing oral disease.

"The smoker's mouth kicks out the good bacteria, and the pathogens are called in," said Kumar. "So they're allowed to proliferate much more quickly than they would in a non-smoking environment."

The results suggest that dentists may have to offer more aggressive treatment for smokers and would have good reason to suggest quitting smoking, Kumar said.

"A few hours after you're born, bacteria start forming communities called biofilms in your mouth," said Kumar. "Your body learns to live with them, because for most people, healthy biofilms keep the bad bacteria away."

She likens a healthy biofilm to a lush, green lawn of grass. "When you change the dynamics of what goes into the lawn, like too much water or too little fertilizer," she said, "you get some of the grass dying, and weeds moving in." For smokers, the "weeds" are problem bacteria known to cause disease.

In a new study, Kumar's team looked at how these bacterial ecosystems regrow after being wiped away. For 15 healthy nonsmokers and 15 healthy smokers, the researchers took samples of oral biofilms one, two, four and seven days after professional cleaning.

The researchers were looking for two things when they swabbed subjects' gums. First, they wanted to see which bacteria were present by analyzing DNA signatures found in dental plaque. They also monitored whether the subjects' bodies were treating the bacteria as a threat. If so, the swab would show higher levels of cytokines, compounds the body produces to fight infection.

The results of the study were published in the journal Infection and Immunity.

"When you compare a smoker and nonsmoker, there's a distinct difference," said Kumar. "The first thing you notice is that the basic 'lawn,' which would normally contain thriving populations made of a just few types of helpful bacteria, is absent in smokers."

The team found that for nonsmokers, bacterial communities regain a similar balance of species to the communities that were scraped away during cleaning. Disease-associated bacteria are largely absent, and low levels of cytokines show that the body is not treating the helpful biofilms as a threat.

"By contrast," said Kumar, "smokers start getting colonized by pathogensbacteria that we know are harmfulwithin 24 hours. It takes longer for smokers to form a stable microbial community, and when they do, it's a pathogen-rich community."

Smokers also have higher levels of cytokines, indicating that the body is mounting defenses against infection. Clinically, this immune response takes the form of red, swollen gumscalled gingivitisthat can lead to the irreversible bone loss of periodontitis.

In smokers, however, the body is not just trying to fight off harmful bacteria. The types of cytokines in smokers' gum swabs showed the researchers that smokers' bodies were treating even healthy bacteria as threatening.

Although they do not yet understand the mechanisms behind these results, Kumar and her team suspect that smoking is confusing the normal communication that goes on between healthy bacterial communities and their human hosts.

Practically speaking, these findings have clear implications for patient care, according to Kumar.

"It has to drive how we treat the smoking population," she said. "They need a more aggressive form of treatment, because even after a professional cleaning, they're still at a very high risk for getting these pathogens back in their mouths right away.

"Dentists don't often talk to their patients about smoking cessation," she continued. "These results show that dentists should take a really active role in helping patients to get the support they need to quit."

For Kumar, who is a practicing periodontist as well as a teaching professor, doing research has changed how she treats her patients. "I tell them about our studies, about the bacteria and the host response, and I say, 'HeyI'm really scared for you.' Patients have been more willing to listen, and two actually quit."


'/>"/>
Contact: Purnima Kumar
Kumar.83@osu.edu
614-247-4532
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Playing Sports May Help Keep Kids From Smoking
2. Smoking May Be Especially Tough on Mens Brains
3. Erlotinib dose-adjusted for smoking status effective as first treatment for head and neck cancer
4. Smoking During Pregnancy Not Linked to Autism
5. Poorer Folks May Find It Harder to Quit Smoking
6. Occasional Pot Smoking Wont Harm Lungs: Study
7. Nicotine replacement therapies may not be effective in helping people quit smoking
8. How to Make Your Quit-Smoking Resolution Stick
9. Smoking Linked to Skin Cancer in Women
10. Some States Make Stopping Smoking Easier Than Others
11. CU-Boulder led study of smoking twins points to growing influence of genetic factors
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the ... a national organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel ... also provides a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th ... Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States ... creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have ... thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ), one ... an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides optimal ... controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that is ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Malvern, PA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... is the recipient of a 2017 Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best ... New York City on October 11, 2017. , The annual award competition recognizes editorial ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/5/2017)... 2017  In response to the nationwide opioid ... Surgeons (AAOMS) released prescribing recommendations that urge ibuprofen ... as a first-line therapy to manage a patient,s ... Recognizing the value and importance of ... Prescribing: Acute and Postoperative Pain Management" stresses that ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ) ... of 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Lilly will ... the investment community and media to further detail the ... begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, media and ... the conference call through a link that will be ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Early Signal ... wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring of patients ... a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health solutions for ... analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, cognitive, physiological ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: