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J Adolesc Health. 2013 May;52(5):641-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.11.002. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

The effect of tobacco and marijuana use on dental health status in Nevada adolescents: a trend analysis.

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  • 1University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Dental Medicine, Las Vegas, NV 89106, USA.



Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. If current trends persist, tobacco will kill more than 8 million people worldwide by 2030 and 1 billion by the end of the century. The purpose of this study was to determine trends in tobacco/marijuana use in Nevada adolescents and their effect on dental health status. Relative comparative data were compared with nationally reported data.


Retrospective data in this cohort study was from an ongoing statewide, school-based, dental health screening initiative that was conducted across 8 years (2002-2010) in public/private middle/high schools in Nevada. A total of 66,941 dental health screenings of adolescents between ages 13-18 were conducted. Self-reported data were collected on tobacco/marijuana use. Descriptive statistics and trends were reported. Means (SE) were computed for caries prevalence and severity. Effect size was reported on dental caries and use of tobacco/marijuana.


Overall, percentage prevalence of tobacco use was approximately the same as the national average; however, there were significantly higher rates of marijuana use (12.0% vs. 3.3%). Prevalence and severity of dental caries was significantly higher in those who used tobacco/marijuana than those who did not across all variables and across all 8 years controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, where they lived, and exposure to secondhand smoke.


Tobacco use negatively affected dental health status with marijuana having the largest negative effect. The findings from this study identified the need for tobacco/marijuana prevention services targeting adolescents residing in the geographic areas most at risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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