We know that cigarette smoking endangers your oral health. It makes it harder for your gums to heal. It also impacts the ability of your immune system to fight infections. As a result, smokers are more likely to develop gum disease, and much more likely to lose teeth–they lose nearly three times as many teeth as nonsmokers.
But what about secondhand smoke? Does it increase your risk of gum disease? That’s much less clear.
Some Studies Say “Yes.”
There have been a number of studies done on the impact of secondhand smoke on your gum disease risk. Several of them attribute an increased risk of gum disease to secondhand smoke. The level of risk varies between the studies. One study estimated that people are 60% more likely to develop gum disease if they were exposed to secondhand smoke. Another study broke down the level of risk by the hours of exposure. Exposure to secondhand smoke for 25 hours or less led to a 35% increase in gum disease risk. However, exposure to secondhand smoke for 26 hours or more doubled gum disease risk (100% increase).
However, a recent review looked at all the relevant studies linking gum disease and secondhand smoke and concluded that the relationship was unclear and needed more study.
What about Dental Implants?
Dental implants are also significantly impacted by smoking. Nicotine and other substances in cigarettes make it harder for your body to build bone, making it more likely that dental implants just won’t integrate into the jawbone. And since gum disease is the leading cause of implant failure as well as tooth loss, increases in gum disease risk will likely affect dental implants.
However, now we’re really in unresearched territory. There are no studies to show the impact of secondhand smoke on dental implants, But if you really want to protect your investment in dental implants, it’s probably best to avoid secondhand smoke.