Secondhand Smoke Exposure Doubles Risk of Cavities in Children

Dental Cavity Wikipedia

Dental Cavity
Wikipedia Interview with:
Koji Kawakami, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Research Management
Graduate School of Medicine and Public Health
Director, Science for Innovation Policy Unit, Center for Promotion of Interdisciplinary Education and Research
Kyoto University Kyoto city
Kyoto Japan

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kawakami: The prevalence of caries in deciduous teeth in developed countries remains high, while established measures for caries prevention in young children is limited to sugar restriction, oral fluoride supplementation and fluoride varnish. In this study of 76920 children in Japan, exposure to tobacco smoke at 4 months of age, which was experienced by half of all children of that age, was associated with an increased risk of caries in deciduous teeth by approximately 2-fold.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Kawakami: Our findings would support extending public health and clinical interventions to reduce secondhand smoke. For example, the chance of education on the harm of secondhand smoke would increase if dentists become aware of the caries risk due to secondhand smoke as well as tobacco smoking of their patients.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Kawakami: Further confirmation is necessary to conclude whether a smoking prevention program would reduce risks of caries. In particular, our results may not be generally applicable to populations with different environmental and lifestyle factors, given the substantial variability in the prevalence of caries, exposure to secondhand smoke, and lifestyle across countries.


Koji Kawakami, MD, PhD (2015). Secondhand Smoke Exposure Doubles Risk of Cavities in Children 

Last Updated on October 22, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD