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Preventive Care

Secondhand Smoke & Your Child’s Oral Health

Second Hand SmokeWe hear a lot about the harmful effects smoking can have on the health of the smoker. However, we hear a lot less about the effects smoking can have on the people who spend time with a smoker, especially kids. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for many different health problems, which include:

  • SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • Asthma
  • Severe and recurring ear infections
  • Respiratory illnesses

In addition to the above health problems, secondhand smoke also increases the risk that a child may suffer from dental cavities and tooth decay. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke, meaning that even if the smoke leaves the room or goes outside to smoke a cigarette, the child will still be at risk for these problems. In fact, kids who live with a smoker are 50% more likely to develop cavities and decay than those who don’t.

How Secondhand Smoke Causes Tooth Decay

Secondhand smoke can cause cavities and tooth decay by:

  • Inflaming or irritating the tissues in the mouth
  • Making it more difficult for the body to fight off disease and infection
  • Lowering the vitamin C levels in the child’s body
  • Causing dry mouth, which means the saliva can’t properly wash away bacteria

If tooth decay is allowed to go untreated in a child, it can cause pain, dental cavities, gum disease, and an increased risk for dental problems in adulthood. Additionally, it may also require uncomfortable and expensive dental procedures to fix the problems.

The best thing you can do for your health and your children’s health is to stop smoking today. To schedule an appointment for your child, or for information on quitting smoking, please contact Firestone Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, located in Firestone, CO. Your child’s health is our top priority.

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