Tooth Decay Risk Doubles in Children Exposed to Secondhand Smoke:
October 29, 2015 by Dr. Emanuel Uncategorized
According to a recent study published in The BMJ, exposure to secondhand smoke at 4 months of age is associated with an increased risk of tooth decay later in life. Secondhand smoke can be very detrimental to oral health in children, as well as adults. Secondhand smoke may directly affect teeth and gums in many ways such as inflammation of the oral membrane, damage to the salivary gland function, a decrease in serum vitamin C levels, and even lower immunity in the mouth.
Children that are exposed to secondhand smoke are also prone to having lower salivary lgA levels and higher levels of sialic acid with higher activity. Sialic acid enhances S. mutans, which in turn lead to the formation of dental plaque. Compared with having no smokers in the family, exposure to smoke starting at 4 months old was found to be associated with tooth decay, which can lead to cavities as well as other oral issues later in life. Unfortunately, nearly 42% of American children aged 2-11 have decay in their primary teeth due to secondhand smoke.
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