It has been suggested that due to its vasoconstrictive action, nicotine may have a deleterious effect on the periodontium. This study examined the effects of topical and systemic nicotine administration on gingival blood flow. Eighteen young adult dogs were divided into three groups receiving the following treatments for 28 days: topical nicotine in orabase, systemic nicotine via osmotic mini-pumps, and topical orabase or systemic saline via osmotic mini-pumps. Blood flow to the gingiva was measured (at days 0 and 28) by the radiolabeled microsphere method. Blood flow was consistently increased from day 0 to day 28 in the nicotine-treated animals. Comparison of days 0 and 28 blood-flow values demonstrated a statistically significant change (p<0.05) in the anterior regions of the topical-nicotine group as compared with the control group. The increased flow may be a reflection of the mode of nicotine delivery and timing of the blood-flow determination procedures.
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