Dental Health Info Article

How Second Hand Smoke Affects Dental Health:

Smoking is not glamorous and in actuality, the nasty vice is the main cause of preventable death in America. The habit is responsible for approximately 438,000 deaths annually and even non-smokers are at risk from problems caused by second hand smoke. Second hand smoke has been attributed to 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually and those noxious fumes can also cause dental health issues in innocent bystanders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45 million Americans smoke and their habits impact the dental health of more than 126 million non-smoking Americans. Involuntary smokers ranging from newborn babies to those nearing the end of life, commonly get their unhealthy smoke fix from being exposed in homes, vehicles, offices and public places. Regardless of how the stream of fumes infiltrates the space of a non-smoker, the carcinogens and nicotine will increase the odds of children developing tooth decay and bone loss, so when mothers or others who smoke kiss children, they would tend to pass on these germs," (ARHQ).

Second Hand Smoke and Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection kicked off by bacteria filled dental plaque adhering to teeth, gums and sneaking below the gum line. In the earliest stages it is called gingivitis and if left untreated it can develop into periodontitis. No matter how advanced the condition is, they are both forms of gum disease ( AKA periodontal disease). Over time, the disease will contribute to dental problems such as dental abscesses, bleeding gums and ultimately tooth loss.

Smokers are at a greater risk for developing the specific dental problem as tobacco interferes with the function of healthy gum tissue cells. As a result, gums can separate from the bone, making teeth more vulnerable to infection. Gums can separate from the bone, leaving teeth open to infection.

Smokers also have a higher rate of oral bone loss as the habit can reduce bone mineral density and second hand smoke has been proven to have the same negative impact on innocent bystanders. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology, demonstrated the relationship between second hand smoke and bone loss in rats. Scientists found that when rodents with periodontitis were exposed to second hand smoke, they had greater odds of experience bone loss, which is the number one cause of tooth loss.

Other Health Issues Caused by Second Hand Smoke

Aside from serious dental problems, passive smoke can cause other health issues. According to, the preventable pollution causes:

  • A heart disease annual death toll of 46,000 in non-smokers.
  • Approximate 3,400 lung disease deaths in non-smokers.
  • Non-smoker breathing problems including asthma.
  • Increases the risk of pregnant women having premature delivery.
  • Annual rates of 750,000 middle ear infections in children.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Oral cancer.

Some vices are worse than others and courtesy of the assortment of chemicals and toxins in cigarette smoke, smoking is one of the worst out there. If you are not a smoker, do not pick up the habit and if you are a smoker, quitting is the best move for the dental health of you and your family.

Smokers looking to kick the habit should seek the advice and care of their physician and dentist. A doctor can provide smoking addicts with helpful ideas and prescriptions to help them get off the stick, while a dentist can inspect a mouth for oral cancer and repair the oral damage done by the behavior. Individuals who need a great dentist can count on 1-800-DENTIST to connect them to a skilled dentist up to the task.