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Tooth loss in pregnant women linked to secondhand smoke

Living in a home with a smoker can be hazardous to the oral health of child-bearing age women, according to Japanese researchers.

Scientists studied 1,002 pregnant women. A total of 256 women had lost one or more teeth. Not only was current light or heavy smoking by the women related to tooth loss, those with heavy environmental tobacco smoke exposure at home also had a higher rate of tooth loss.

Though smoking rates in the United States continue to decline, they remain well above the national Healthy People 2010 initiative's goal to reduce the prevalence of smoking among adults to 12 percent or less, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2003, the last year for which CDC National Health Interview Survey statistics were available, more than 21 percent of American adults were current smokers.

Using tobacco products can lead to receding gums, periodontal disease, bad breath and stains on the teeth and tongue as well as more serious oral health problems.

"Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers," according to Dr. Kimberly Harms, ADA consumer advisor and practicing Minnesota dentist. She further states that "smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) is associated with cancers of the cheek, gums and lining of the lips, increasing the risk by about 50 times."

For more information on how to quit smoking, visit the CDC Web site at "".

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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