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Child’s Tooth Decay and how Secondhand Smoke Can Contribute to It

Hand crushing a cigaretteWe’re all aware of the damage that cigarette smoking can have on a smoker, but secondhand smoke isn’t discussed nearly as often. Here at Balota Family Dentistry, the health of our patients, especially our youngest patients, is of the utmost importance. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause a number of very scary health problems for children, including:

  • Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Frequent and severe ear infections
  • Increased risk of respiratory illness
  • Higher frequency of asthma

In addition to all of the health problems, exposure to secondhand smoke, especially in children who live in homes with smokers, has been shown to increase the likelihood of tooth decay and dental cavities. Even if the smoker leaves the home or the room to smoke, a child who lives with a smoker is up to 50% more likely to suffer from tooth decay than his or her peers. The younger the child is during exposure to secondhand smoke, the more likely these problems are to occur.

Secondhand Smoke & Tooth Decay

Secondhand smoke causes tooth decay by:

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

If dental cavities and tooth decay in childhood go untreated, they can worsen and lead to gum disease, tooth infections, and even the early loss of teeth. These problems are expensive to treat and very painful for your child to endure.

No amount of secondhand smoke is safe for your child. For information on how to quit smoking or to make an appointment for your children to receive a dental cleaning and an exam, please contact Balota Family Dentistry located here in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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