How Secondhand Smoke Affects Children’s Dental Health
Secondhand smoke has been linked to lung and cardiovascular problems in nonsmokers, and children who live with smokers are more vulnerable to asthma, upper respiratory infections, ear infections and ADHD. A recent article published in the “Journal of the American Dental Association” has found that 10 out of 15 studies link cavities in children with secondhand smoke.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cavities are the most common chronic disease in children between six and 19. Although tobacco use during pregnancy did not seem to be linked with tooth decay, one study found that exposure as early as 4 months of age could double the risk in children by the time they reach three. Unfortunately, 40 percent of kids worldwide are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, and more than half of children live with a smoker.
Tobacco use has long been linked with dental problems in smokers and those that chew tobacco. Those who regularly use tobacco are at a higher risk of cavities, tooth loss, dry mouth, gum disease and oral cancer. While none of the studies have shown that secondhand smoke causes cavities, they do show a correlation between being regularly exposed to smoke and cavities in kids. Other factors that predispose a child to decay include a poor diet, insufficient fluoride intake, poor dental hygiene and lower socioeconomic factors.
If you smoke, quitting is the best way to protect yourself and your child. However, until you are ready to quit, let Dr. Frame know about your smoking habits so that he can determine what preventive steps can help reduce your and your children’s risks. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Frame, pediatric dentist in Santa Clara.
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