Dental caries in 3-year-old children and smoking status of parents

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2008 Nov;22(6):546-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2008.00950.x.


An association has been suggested between environmental tobacco smoke and oral disease. The present study examined the relationship between early childhood caries (ECC) and parental smoking, particularly paternal smoking, using records of 711 36-month-old children. The smoking status of parents as an independent variable was entered in the multivariable logistic regression model for caries experience as the dependent variable with confounders: sex, residential location, and possible risks of ECC such as order of birth, type of main drink, frequency of daily intake of sugar-containing snacks, daily toothbrushing by parents and use of fluoridated toothpaste. About 65% of children were caries free. Children whose parents did not smoke (CN), those in whom only the father smoked (CF), and those whose mother smoked regardless of the smoking status of the father (CM) comprised 33%, 33% and 34% respectively. The adjusted mean number [95% CI] of decayed teeth and caries experience prevalence for CN, CF and CM were 1.2 [0.8, 1.6], 1.6 [1.2, 2.0] and 2.1 [1.7, 2.5], and 25.6%, 35.3% and 45.7% respectively. The relationship between caries experience and parental smoking was significant on multivariable analysis. The adjusted OR [95% CI] of CF and CM relative to CN was 1.52 [1.01, 2.30] and 2.25 [1.51, 3.37] respectively. These results indicate the association of ECC with parental smoking, although the association with paternal smoking was weaker than with maternal smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parents*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution