An article published in the November issue of the Journal of Periodontology says that smoking a hookah or a water pipe has the same effect on the gums as smoking a cigarette. Both promote periodontal disease and are equally devastating as far as the oral hygiene is concerned.
The article notes that the hookah has become pretty popular in Mediterranean restaurants, cafes and bars. It warns that the impact of the water pipe is largely similar to that of cigarettes. In the study, it was found that periodontal disease occurred in 30 percent of water pipe smokers, 24 percent of cigarette smokers and eight percent of non-smokers. Kenneth A. Krebs, DMD and AAP president put things in perspective when he said, "Research from this study shows that the relative risk for periodontal disease increased by 5-fold in water pipe and 3.8-fold in cigarette smokers compared to non-smokers. Even though the smoke is filtered out by water, inhalation of toxic substances is similar to or even greater than that of cigarette smoking." It was also found that the levels of nicotine and cotinine in plasma, saliva and urine increased subsequent to smoking the hookah. "This study provides convincing evidence supporting the role of tobacco smoking as a risk factor for periodontal disease," said Krebs. He added that although the precise mechanism of tobacco smoke was not known, it was now becoming clear that the periodontal bone was the most susceptible tissue.
Contact: Amy Duff
American Academy of Periodontology