Objective: We investigated the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy and postnatal household smoking on the prevalence of dental caries.
Study design: Study subjects were 2015 children, age 3 years. Information on maternal smoking during pregnancy and postnatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) at home was obtained through questionnaires. Children were classified as having caries if 1 or more of the deciduous teeth had decayed, were missing, or had been filled.
Results: Compared with nonsmoking during pregnancy, maternal smoking throughout pregnancy, but not ceasing to smoke at some time during pregnancy, was associated with an increased prevalence of caries. Regarding postnatal ETS, current but not former ETS exposure at home was independently positively associated with the prevalence of dental caries. A dose-response relationship was observed between cumulative postnatal ETS exposure at home and dental caries.
Conclusions: Both in utero exposure to maternal smoking and postnatal exposure to ETS may be associated with an increased prevalence of dental caries in young children.