New study of Emiratis provides further evidence that smoking medwakh leads to heart disease. Medwakh and shisha have been linked to mouth bacteria that can result in heart attacks. – Dr. Malak Basim Alkhafaji, General Dentist at Canadian Specialist Hospital, Deira, Dubai
The research found changes to the make-up of this bacteria induced by smoking could exacerbate the growth of pathogens or microorganisms, which can potentially lead to heart attacks.
Smoking shisha or a medwakh pipe is hugely popular across the UAE, as well as the wider Arabian Gulf region. Medwakh users most often smoke a type of Arabian tobacco blend known as dokha while shisha tobacco is often soaked in molasses or honey, or mixed with fruit.
Under the research, carried out as part of a larger health programme known as the UAE Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS), scientists identified different types of bacteria in mouthwash samples of 330 Emirati participants, about one third of whom were smokers.
She said dokha could be linked to a string of harmful effects in the mouth, including increased risk of gum disease, inflammation of the salivary glands, and a condition called leukoplakia, in which white patches form on the tongue and mouth lining and can lead to oral cancer.
Dokha users can also have more difficulty in recovering from major dental procedures and are at greater risk of complications afterwards. Bad breath and the build up of plaque and tartar are also more common.