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Tobacco Smoke Make Pathogens in Mouth More Resilient

Here’s yet another reason to quit smoking: tobacco smoke not only promotes the setting up of bacterial communities in one’s mouth, but it also contributes to an enhanced resilience of the pathogens against antibiotics.


The human body has no dearth of bacteria. Its many systems are full of these living organisms which assist them to carry out their functions. However, if the number of bacteria exceeds its limits – something which can be triggered by certain factors including unhealthy habits – the body suffers. A new study published in Tobacco Induced Diseases suggests that tobacco smoking can cause a bacterial species to propagate such that it is able to fight against the immune system.

The mouth is one of those locations in the human body that are filled with bacteria. While this is the normal way of things, tobacco smoking can shift the balance by promoting bacterial colonisation that eventually leads to immune invasion. The recent review mentions that tobacco smoke and the chemicals it contains promote the formation of biofilm in the mouth.

A biofilm is made of several communities of bacteria that form complex multispecies structures; it can settle on surfaces like the teeth as dental plaques. The review mentions that pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Klebsiella pneumonia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa can come together to form biofilms in the mouth when they are triggered by cigarette smoke. The bad news is that biofilms are hard to eliminate because they constitute a physical barrier ‘protecting’ the individual bacteria from the components of the immune system of the host. Furthermore, they can also resist the effects of antibiotics, and instead, lead to recurrent infections.

Commenting on the review, David A. Scott from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry explains that biofilms also promote the transfer of genetic material within the bacterial communities such that they are further shielded from antibiotics, leading to other virulence factors.

Therefore, researchers persist into trying to understand the interactions occurring in biofilms so that solutions can be found for the diseases they entail.


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