Quitting Smoking Boosts Good Bacteria

A study that looked at dental plaque samples from smokers? Yuck! But it just might surprise you to hear what scientists from Ohio State University and Newcastle University (UK) discovered after following several people with chronic gum disease after they quit smoking.

Knowing that tobacco use causes harmful bacteria to thrive in the mouth (which can eventually lead to gum disease), researchers wondered if quitting smoking could have the reverse effect. Could the numbers of bad bacteria be lowered? Could the beneficial bacteria be replenished?

During the year-long study, half of the more than 20 participants quit for good, but half started smoking again, and guess what the results showed? Yup, you guessed it—quitting smoking (along with non-surgical therapy and counseling) not only resulted in fewer bad bacteria but an increase in healthy, disease-fighting bacteria.

I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty cool. In fact, it’s one of the first studies to prove that it’s possible to restore a healthy oral bacteria balance after quitting smoking. Just one more reason to kick the habit!