Researchers at the Ohio State University are investigating the role of the body’s bacterial communities in preventing oral disease. The mouth contains a stable ecosystem of healthy bacteria. The mouth of a smoker, however, is a very diverse, chaotic ecosystem with much higher susceptibility to harmful bacteria. Smokers also have higher rates of gum disease and oral cancer than do nonsmokers. And, with this new research, now smokers have the added risk for reduced levels of good bacteria and higher levels of aggressive and harmful bacteria.