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Smoking and Sleep Affect Oral Health

Smoking may be public enemy No. 1 when it comes to the
health of your teeth and gums.

A new study shows smoking was the leading lifestyle factor affecting the
progression of periodontal disease. Second to smoking in terms of worsening
periodontal disease was not getting enough sleep.

"This study points out to patients that there are lifestyle factors
other than brushing and flossing that may affect their oral health. Simple
lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, may help patients improve or
protect their oral health," says Preston D. Miller Jr., DDS, president of
the American Academy of Periodontology, in a news release. "It is also
important to keep these in mind as the body of evidence linking oral disease
with systemic diseases continues to grow because ultimately these lifestyle
factors might impact a patient's overall health."

Smoking Affects Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, which affects the teeth and gums and can ultimately
lead to loss of teeth, is thought to be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in
the mouth. But recent research has suggested that other factors may also play
an important role.

In the study, Muneo Tanaka, DDS, and colleagues at Osaka University Graduate
School of Dentistry, followed a group of 219 factory workers from 1999 to 2003
to examine the relationship between periodontal disease and different lifestyle

Researchers analyzed the impact of a variety of lifestyle factors on the
progression of periodontal disease among the workers, including physical
exercise, alcohol use, tobacco use, hours of sleep, nutritional balance of the
diet, mental stress, hours worked, and eating breakfast.

Out of all the lifestyle factors examined, researchers found the No. 1 one
factor affecting the progression of periodontal disease was smoking.

The results, published in the Journal of Periodontology, also showed
that more than 41% of those who experienced a worsening of their periodontal
disease were current smokers.

Lack of sleep was the second most important lifestyle factor affecting
periodontal disease with those who received seven to eight hours of sleep per
night showing less periodontal disease progression than those who received six
or fewer hours of sleep per night. High stress levels and daily alcohol
consumption also had an impact on periodontal disease progression.

By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario
B)2005-2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved

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