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J Dent Res. 1997 Oct;76(10):1653-9.

Smoking, smoking cessation, and tooth loss.

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Boston University, Goldman School of Dental Medicine, MA 02118, USA.


Smoking is associated with an increased risk of tooth loss, but it is not known if this risk decreases significantly when individuals quit smoking. The objectives of this study were to describe the rates of tooth loss by smoking status in two populations of medically healthy men and women. Among the men, rates of tooth loss and edentulism in relation to smoking cessation were also evaluated. The subjects were drawn from a group of 584 women (aged 40 to 70) recruited from the Boston, MA, area and a separate population of 1231 male veterans (aged 21 to 75) who participated in the VA Dental Longitudinal Study in Boston. In cross-sectional baseline analyses, current cigarette smokers of either sex had significantly more missing teeth than never-smokers or former smokers. Former smokers and pipe or cigar smokers tended to have an intermediate number of missing teeth. Current male smokers had more teeth with calculus, but the differences in plaque, tooth mobility, probing depth > 2 mm, filled and decayed teeth, and bleeding on probing by smoking history were not significant. Prospective observations of 248 women (mean follow-up time = 6 +/- 2 years) and 977 men (mean = 18 +/- 7 years) indicated that individuals who continued to smoke cigarettes had 2.4-fold (men) to 3.5-fold risk (women) of tooth loss compared with non-smokers. The rates of tooth loss in men were significantly reduced after they quit smoking cigarettes but remained higher than those in non-smokers. Men who smoked cigarettes had a 4.5-fold increase in risk of edentulism, and this risk also decreased upon smoking cessation. These findings indicate that the risk of tooth loss is greater among cigarette smokers than among non-smokers. Smoking cessation significantly benefits an individual's likelihood of tooth retention, but it may take decades for the individual to return to the rate of tooth loss observed in non-smokers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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