OSAKA — Heavy drinkers and smokers face higher risks of severe dental problems, according to a recent survey conducted by a professor at Osaka University’s Faculty of Dentistry.

Professor Satoshi Shizukuishi, a specialist in preventive dentistry, announced the results of his survey at a recent academic conference on industrial hygiene in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.

The results of the survey indicate smoking and alcohol consumption affect dental health in different ways. Smoking was found to constrict blood vessels in the gums and impede circulation. Drinkers, however, simply tend to overlook proper dental hygiene habits and fail to clean their teeth as often as they should, thereby indirectly leading to dental problems.

In the survey covering 310 businesspeople in their 20s to 50s, the professor examined the relationship between smoking, drinking and exercise habits and personal health. The highest risk of severe dental problems was found with smokers. Shizukuishi found they are more than twice as likely to suffer from periodontal diseases as nonsmokers. He said nicotine in tobacco contracts blood vessels in the mouth, weakening the gums and making them more susceptible to disease.

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