A study reveals that smoking impacts on the efficacy of periodontal healing after non-surgical treatment.

The results of this new research are to be presented at EuroPerio9, the world’s leading congress in periodontology and implant dentistry.

Dr Aorra Naji, periodontist, from the Centre for Oral Rehabilitation, Department of Periodontology, Falun, Sweden, said: 'Non-surgical periodontal treatment significantly reduced pockets greater than 4 millimetres deep in both smokers and non-smokers. Nevertheless, we found that the reduction was more pronounced in non-smokers, one year after treatment.'

Periodontal pockets are formed between the gum and the root of the tooth, where bacteria can concentrate and release toxins that can affect the body’s immune system and lead to loss of supporting attachment. If left untreated, pockets could lead to tooth loss. Reducing the inflammation and thereby also the pocket depth is important to avoid more attachment loss around the affected teeth.

Data was obtained on 1551 individuals treated between 1980 and 2015 in a specialised clinic for periodontology in Sweden.

The researchers established that one-year after active treatment there was a significant reduction of the clinical parameters among both smokers and non-smokers.

While in non-smokers the pocket depth reduction was 72%, in smokers the reduction was 51%, showing that smoking impairs periodontal healing after non-surgical periodontal treatment. Researchers also found that the proportional reduction of plaque was 69% in non-smokers and 53% in smokers, one year after treatment.

Larger studies are needed to investigate the influence of smoking cessation on periodontal healing, the authors added.

Dr Naji concluded: 'As non-smokers had more pronounced pocket depth reduction than smokers, it is important for members of the dental profession to work with smoking prevention, for example by information and motivational interviewing.'