Aim: to examine the long-term influence of smoking on periodontal health.
Material & Methods: The data derived from a 20-year longitudinal study of a group of Norwegian middle class males. The subjects were subset according to their smoking history. 119 non-smokers and 17 smokers were examined 20 years apart.
Results and Discussion: Current smokers had significantly higher Plaque Indices than did non-smokers after the age of 35 years, while before, there was no difference. Before 20 years of age, the non- smokers exhibited greater Gingival Indices, but after the age of 35, the smokers had significantly more sites that bled on probing. Smokers demonstrated higher mean Calculus Indices after 35 years and as they approached 50 years of age. At baseline, the 2 groups showed similar attachment loss (0.14mm), but with increasing age and approaching 50 years, the attachment loss progressed significantly faster in smokers than in non-smokers (2.31mm and 1.57mm, respectively). Linear regression indicated that ageing and smoking were independently and significantly related to attachment loss.
Conclusions: Lifelong light smoking could be confirmed as a risk factor of periodontal disease progression. However, in this population, smoking did not significantly increase the risk for tooth loss.