Passive Smoke May Cause Tooth Decay in Kids - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/11/03

Passive Smoke May Cause Tooth Decay in Kids

Most smokers know their habit takes its toll on their teeth, but this may surprise you. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that even breathing in passive smoke may bring more cavities to kids.

Dr. Andrew Aligne and researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine looked at the dental records of about 3,500 kids from across the nation. And they weren't just reviewing dental exams, each child in the study also had a blood test to check for Cotinine in the blood.

"Children with tobacco smoke exposure were almost twice as likely as other children to have dental cavities in their baby teeth. Your body breaks down nicotine to excrete it, and one of the breakdown products is Cotinine, and we can measure that, so it's a very good measure of how much tobacco you've been exposed to," says Dr. Aligne.

Dr. Aliagne also says that it was dramatic,  he link between kids with high Cotinine levels and an increase in cavities. This was true no matter how often the child went to the dentist, and no matter what the family's income level, education level, or race.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Treatment here in the U.S. climbs to more than $4 billion a year. For more information, you can (click here).

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