Secondhand Smoke and How It Contributes to Childhood Tooth Decay
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Secondhand Smoke and How It Contributes to Childhood Tooth Decay

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Cigarettes and baby in backgroundWe’ve all been educated about the damage that tobacco can do to the health of the user. However, secondhand smoke is also incredibly dangerous and can cause numerous health problems for those people who may spend a lot of time with a smoker, especially small children. Regular exposure to secondhand smoke can cause quite a bit of damage for a child, including the following:

  • Increased risk of asthma
  • Increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Frequent and severe ear infections

In addition to the above health problems, secondhand smoke can also cause a higher risk of tooth decay, especially in children who live with a smoker. Even if the smoker goes outside or away from the child to smoke a cigarette, the child is still around 50% more likely to suffer from dental cavities and tooth decay than children who live with non-smokers.

The Link Between Secondhand Smoke & Tooth Decay

Secondhand smoke can have a direct impact on a child’s teeth and mouth by:

  • Lowering the levels of vitamin C in the body
  • Causing the tissues and membranes of the mouth to become inflamed
  • Decreasing the function of the salivary gland, causing dry mouth
  • Causing immune dysfunction

Dental cavities and tooth decay in early childhood can cause problems for a child’s dental health all the way into adulthood. Additionally, these problems can cause pain and discomfort for the child as well as expensive dental procedures to fix the issues.

No level of secondhand smoke is safe for children. If you are a smoker or if your child lives in the same home as a smoker, it’s even more important to be vigilant about dental health. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and bringing your child in for regular dental checkups with Dr. Fulford.

To make an appointment, please contact Camp Little Tooth located here in Lafayette, Colorado.

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