Aim: To study the association between tobacco smoking, in particular water pipe smoking, and periodontal bone height.
Methods: A study sample of 355 individuals in the age range 17-60 years was recruited from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The smoking behavior was registered through a questionnaire during interview. Participants were stratified into water pipe smokers (33%), cigarette smokers (20%), mixed smokers (19%) and non-smokers (28%). The periodontal bone height was measured from digital panoramic radiographs mesially and distally to each tooth and expressed as a percentage of the root length.
Results: The mean periodontal bone height was 76.2% for water pipe smokers, 75.8% for cigarette smokers, 80.2% for mixed smokers and 80.9% for non-smokers. The association between smoking and mean bone height was statistically significant controlling for age (p<0.001). The association between life-time smoking exposure and mean bone height controlling for age was statistically significant in water pipe smokers and cigarette smokers (p<0.01). The prevalence of bone loss in excess of 30% of the bone height was 27% in water pipe smokers, 24% in cigarette smokers, 9% in mixed smokers and 6% in non-smokers. The prevalence was significantly greater in water pipe smokers and cigarette smokers compared with non-smokers (p<0.001). The relative risk of periodontal bone loss associated with water pipe and cigarette smoking after adjustment for age was 3.5-fold and 4.3-fold elevated, respectively, compared with non-smoking (p<0.01).
Conclusion: An association between tobacco smoking and periodontal bone height reduction is observed. The impact of water pipe smoking is of the same magnitude as that of cigarette smoking.