Smoking and Periodontitis: What You Need to Know

Your gums are important for keeping your teeth healthy. But did you know that smoking can seriously harm them?

Let’s break it down: Periodontitis is a disease affecting the tissues supporting teeth. These tissues include the gums, the bone that holds teeth, and the ligaments that keep them in place.

Now, imagine 9 out of 10 people worldwide dealing with some form of gum disease. That’s a lot! It usually starts with gingivitis, where your gums get red, swollen, and bleed easily. The culprit? A sticky film of bacteria called plaque builds up around your teeth.

Ignoring gingivitis can level up to periodontitis, which spells bad news for your teeth. It eats away at the support system, leading to tooth loss in adults. And guess what? Smoking makes it worse.

Periodontitis or gum disease causes heart problems.

Here’s the deal: Smoking messes with your mouth’s balance, making it easier for gum problems to take hold. The more you smoke, the more your gums suffer.

Studies show that smokers are more likely to develop gum disease, and it hits them harder than non-smokers. Even if you quit smoking, the damage might still linger.

But how does smoking do this? It messes with your mouth’s defence system, making it easier for harmful bacteria to wreak havoc. This means smokers not only get sicker gums, but they might not even feel it as much.

So, what can you do? Well, the first step is to kick the smoking habit. Then, it’s all about taking care of your gums—brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

In a nutshell, smoking is bad news for your gums. It messes with your mouth’s defences, making it easier for gum disease to strike. But with the right steps, like quitting smoking and good oral hygiene, you can keep your gums—and your smile—healthy and happy.


Borojevic T. Smoking and periodontal disease. Mater Sociomed. 2012;24(4):274-6. doi: 10.5455/msm.2012.24.274-276. PMID: 23678331; PMCID: PMC3633395.