Smoking has a serious negative impact on periodontitis treatment, according to a study published by Danish researchers in the Journal of Dental Research. Heavy smokers with severe inflammation may have no benefit from periodontal therapy, the research found.
The findings highlight "the need for politicians and decision-makers to better incorporate referrals to smoking cessation courses in the treatment of periodontitis," according to a statement released by the journal (J Dent Res, November 4, 2022).
"[For heavy smokers] with periodontitis, it is very important to understand that working towards stopping smoking is a crucial step in the effective treatment of the disease," study coauthor Julie Pajaniaye of Aarhus University in Denmark said in the statement.
About 40% of the Danish population is affected by periodontitis, but there is wide variation regarding disease severity. Treatment is tailored to individual patients and may include deep cleaning of affected teeth, information about smoking and encouragement to quit, and surgery, wrote a team led by Dr. Fabio Leite, PhD, also of Aarhus University.
The researchers studied the effect of different levels of smoking on the treatment of periodontitis. They found that compared to lighter smokers, heavy smokers with severe inflammation received no benefit from periodontitis treatment. In addition, heavy smokers with moderate disease had a 50% success rate from treatment.
Dentists and dental hygienists could do better when it comes to referring patients to quit-smoking programs, according to Pajaniaye.
"This is completely new knowledge for the country's dental clinics, and it should be taken into account when treatment is being planned for the individual patients," she said.