Exposure to Tobacco Smoke Increases Risk of Cavities in Children

Exposure to secondhand smoke at a young age is associated with an increased risk of cavities, concludes a recent study.

Specifically, researchers found that exposure to tobacco smoke at 4 months of age was associated with approximately twice the risk of caries, or cavities, in a child's non-permanent teeth. The effect of smoking by the mother during pregnancy was not found to be statistically significant cause of cavities in children.

The findings were based on a retrospective study of nearly 77,000 children in Kobe City, Japan. Approximately 50% of the children had been exposed to secondhand smoke from one or more family members.

While the data was adjusted to compensate for other causes of cavities, the findings do not prove a direct cause and effect. However, these findings do reinforce public health efforts to reduce the exposure of children to tobacco smoke.

The study was published in BMJ.