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Caries Res. 2000 Mar-Apr;34(2):117-22.

Parental smoking practices and caries experience in pre-school children.

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Dental Public Health, Leeds Dental Institute, Leeds, UK.


Voluntary and involuntary smoking influence general health. Links between voluntary smoking and oral health are confirmed for periodontal diseases and oral cancer/precancer. Since recent reports have suggested an association between parental smoking and caries experience in young children, this study aimed to explore varying patterns of parental smoking, adjusted for social class, with caries prevalence, using data derived from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (1995). Data analysis was confined to 749 children aged 3.0-4.5 years, to avoid confounding effects of unerupted teeth. Bivariate analysis indicated that the prevalence of maternal rather than paternal smoking was significantly related to caries and substantially attenuated social class differences. The reported number of cigarettes smoked was not important. To compensate for the association between social class and maternal smoking, data were dichotomised by social class (manual/non-manual). With caries prevalence as the dependent variable, logistic regression analysis recorded maternal smoking as a significant independent variable in each case, with odds ratios of 1.55/1.96, respectively. The process was repeated for the combined dataset, using the more extensive (six) social class categories. This further analysis yielded an odds ratio for maternal smoking of 1.54 compared with 1.46 for social class. Nutrition status (as growth parameters) and dietary intake (as household spending on confectionery) were not significant independent variables in these equations. The rationale for these findings is discussed. Further research is required to determine mechanisms underlying these observations. It is concluded that maternal smoking is a significant factor to be considered as an additional risk indicator beyond social class when predicting caries risk in young children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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