News for Dental Practitioners

Smoke free cars can set children up for healthier teeth

Sunday, October 27, 2013 Chris Wood

The government’s proposal to ban smoking in cars with children has been welcomed by leading dental health experts and is expected to be introduced in 2015.

The Department of Health estimate that three million young people under the age of 18 are subject to second hand smoke in private vehicles. Smoking is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults and it is widely believed that children who are subject to second hand smoke will be more likely to pick up the habit later on.

Studies, including Smoking and Health Research Frontiers by Calvin B. Fong, have found that children who live in smoking households are more likely to suffer dental health problems later on in life. It is thought that smoking accounts for around 75% of gum disease in adults.

Mouth Cancer campaigners and the British Health Foundation have welcomed the legislation and Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "Having campaigned on this issue for many years, we're absolutely delighted that MPs have backed the ban on smoking in cars carrying children.

"This could prove a great leap forward for the health of our nation's children.”

Smokers are twice as likely to experience tooth loss

Smoking is one of the leading causes of gum disease and tooth loss in the UK, with smokers twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers. [Source]

Two concurrent thirty year long studies from Boston and Tufts Universities showed that male smokers lose on average 2.9 teeth over 10 years whereas non-smokers were likely to lose 1.3 teeth over the same period. The studies also showed that female smokers likely to lose twice the amount of teeth.

The link between smoking and tooth loss is well documented however these studies add further evidence. Both studies also found that the risk of tooth loss decreases after quitting.

The new legislation could help children who are passive smoking in cars avoid unnecessary tooth loss in the future by reducing the likely hood of them picking up the habit later on in life.

Steps to better oral health for smokers

Some mouth washes can help to cover the smell and even delay the effects of smoking on oral health however these are short term steps rather than long term solutions. 

However if you have already experienced tooth loss from smoking why not book a free consultation with Chris Wood to discuss your options for dental implants. 


(Image courtesy of Reuters)