Smoking cigarettes can lead to the colonisation of bacteria in the mouth and body. University of Louisville School of Dentistry researcher David A. Scott and his research team have identified how tobacco smoke is an environmental stressor and promotes bacteria colonisation and immune invasion.
Scott says since this initial finding several years ago, a recent literature review published in Tobacco Induced Diseases revealed that cigarette smoke and its components also promote biofilm formation. Biofilms are composed of numerous microbial communities often made up of complex, interacting and co-existing multispecies structures and can form on most surfaces, including teeth.
One of the most prevalent biofilms is dental plaque, which can lead to gingivitis and to more severe oral diseases.
“Once a pathogen establishes itself within a biofilm, it can be difficult to eradicate as biofilms provide a physical barrier against the host immune response, can be impermeable to antibiotics and act as a reservoir for persistent infection,” Scott said. “Furthermore, biofilms allow for the transfer of genetic material among the bacterial community and this can lead to antibiotic resistance and the propagation of other virulence factors that promote infection.”
“We are continuing research to understand the interactions of the elaborate communities within biofilms and how they relate to disease. Many studies have investigated biofilms using single species, but more relevant multispecies models are emerging. Novel treatments for biofilm-induced diseases also are being investigated, but we have a long way to go,” Scott said.