Smoking radically alter all of the bacteria present in the mouth. This contributes to the risk of dental caries but this causes especially three quarters of oral cancers.
Smoking changes the oral microbiome
Researchers at the University of Medicine of New York (United States) conducted a study on the effects of smoking on oral health. At the end of the study, which appears to be the most comprehensive to date and which has just been published in the journal Nature, the researchers discovered that smoking significantly alters bacterial balance of the mouth, in which 600 species of bacteria live.
In the mouth of smokers, the level of some 150 species of bacteria that promote certain diseases is significantly higher while the level of 70 other species which play a protective role is much lower.
"For example, Proteobacteria that play a role in the degradation of toxic chemicalsmake up only 4.6% of all the bacteria present in the mouth instead of 11.7% in non-smokers smokers while there are 10% of streptococci and more in the mouths of smokers, knowing that they are bacteria known to promote tooth decay" stresses Dr. Jiyoung Ahn who led this study.
However, by quitting smoking, the oral microbiome seems to come back to its original state. The study shows that oral flora of former smokers who had abandoned the cigarette at least ten years previously, was identical to that of non-smokers. But researchers now want to determine how long it takes to restore bacterial balance.