Why the Marlboro Man Is a Fan of Efferdent

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At this point, itís pretty clear that the side effects of smoking are all pretty awful. But if the well-publicized threat of lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease or stroke isnít enough to keep you from lighting up, maybe the idea of walking around without any teeth will do the trick. According to a study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoke is a major contributor to the development of gum disease and subsequent tooth loss. In fact, smokers who puff away on a pack a day are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop periodontitis, or advanced gun disease. More moderate smokers are also at a high risk; as little as half a pack a day can mean a threefold increase in smokersí chances of developing the disease.

The CDC report, which crystallizes long-standing theories linking smoking with gum disease, follows on the heels of last weekís announcement from the Surgeon General analyzing the various causes and effects of poor oral hygiene. That survey also pinpointed the populations most likely to be affected by gum disease: Black men and low income adults. Those populations are also the most likely to smoke. As grim as the findings may be, health officials sounded optimistic Tuesday as they discussed the implications of the study. Faced with a clear causative relationship between cigarettes and gum disease, officials figure they are in perfect position to kill two birds with one stone: Continue an aggressive anti-smoking campaign, and watch the incidence of gum disease plummet.