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Secondhand smoke increases risk of periodontitis

By Dental Tribune International
March 20, 2015

BOSTON, USA: While there is evidence of the numerous adverse health effects of environmental tobacco smoke, an association between periodontal disease and secondhand smoke in nonsmokers has not been clearly documented by scientific studies. Now, researchers have found that the incidence of periodontitis is significantly higher in nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke compared with unexposed nonsmokers.

In order to assess the effects of secondhand smoke on oral health, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill investigated levels of serum cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, in blood samples provided by 3,255 lifetime nonsmokers. The participants also underwent periodontal examination.

The researchers found that the incidence of moderate or severe periodontitis was 62 percent higher in exposed than in unexposed participants. They reported that nonsmokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke had an almost 1.5 times higher risk of moderate or severe periodontitis compared with unexposed nonsmokers.

The study, titled "Environmental Tobacco Smoke is Associated with Periodontitis in U.S. Non-Smokers," was first presented at the General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, which was held from March 11 to 14 in Boston.

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