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Secondhand Smoke Contributes to Childhood Tooth Decay

a person holding a pack of cigarettes with a baby in the background

Everyone is aware of the damage that tobacco usage can inflict on the health of the person who uses it. However, secondhand smoke also causes problems in those who don’t smoke but spend time with a smoker. This damage is more rampant in children than anyone else. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause many problems for young children; some of them are even deadly. These effects can include:

  • Increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Higher instances of asthma
  • Increased ear infections
  • Various respiratory illnesses

It has also been discovered that, in addition to the health problems listed above, children who live in the same home as a smoker are at an increased risk for tooth decay as well. Even if the smoker goes away from the child to smoke, the child is still 50% more likely to suffer from tooth decay and dental cavities than those children who live with non-smokers. The younger the child exposed to secondhand smoke, the more likely it is that problems are to occur.

Secondhand and Tooth Decay

Secondhand smoke affects the teeth and mouth by:

  • Impairing function of the salivary gland
  • Inflaming the tissues and membranes of the mouth
  • Lowering the levels of vitamin C in the body
  • Causing immune dysfunction

No level of secondhand smoke is safe for your child. If you smoke and would like information on how to stop, or if you believe your child may have cavities or tooth decay, please contact Piedmont Pediatric Dentistry here in Greensboro, North Carolina

Posted on Feb 24, 2020

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