Is second and third hand tobacco exposure associated with poor oral and dental health status?

May 17, 2022

Is second and third hand tobacco exposure associated with poor oral and dental health status?

Major oral health issues are brought on by tobacco and its many forms, which are also linked to a number of red and white lesions, premalignant lesions, oral cancers, gingival and periodontal diseases.

According to WHO data from 2018, about 24% of adults smoke, which results in more than 8 million deaths worldwide every year. Approximately 80% of all tobacco users come from low- and middle-income nations.

Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) has been linked to a number of children’s and adults’ health issues, including dental caries. Postnatal SHS has been linked to children’s dental caries, according to studies. However, additional research is needed to show the scope of this risk.

Additionally, although the evidence is weak, it is certain that children and adolescents exposed to SHS may have worse periodontal health because of higher levels of gingival index scores.

According to a cross-sectional secondary analysis of a nationally representative sample study, home SHS exposure and third-hand tobacco exposure are linked to caries and insufficient oral health care visits, including preventive care visits, in US children aged 0 through 11 years.


Dearing, BA,  Katz, RV,  Weitzman, M.  Prenatal tobacco and postbirth second-hand smoke exposure and dental caries in children. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol.  2022; 50: 130–138.

Bhandari A, Bhatta N. Tobacco and its Relationship with Oral Health. JNMA J Nepal Med Assoc. 2021 Nov 15;59(243):1204-1206. doi: 10.31729/jnma.6605. PMID: 35199764; PMCID: PMC9124323.

Oliveira, L.M., Oliveira, M.D.M., Ardenghi, T.M. et al. Is secondhand smoke exposure associated with poor periodontal status in children and adolescents? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent23, 513–525 (2022).

Mahabee-Gittens EM, Smith HA, Merianos AL. Disparities in dental health issues and oral health care visits in US children with tobacco smoke exposure. J Am Dent Assoc. 2022 Apr;153(4):319-329. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2021.09.002. Epub 2022 Jan 22. PMID: 35078590; PMCID: PMC8969190.

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