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Open Access Research article

Cigarette smoking and tooth loss experience among young adults: a national record linkage study

Miki Ojima1, Takashi Hanioka2*, Keiko Tanaka3 and Hitoshi Aoyama4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive Dentistry, Graduate School of Dentistry, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

2 Department of Preventive and Public Health Dentistry, Fukuoka Dental College, Fukuoka, Japan

3 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan

4 Tochigi Prefectural Medical and Social Welfare College, Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:313  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-313

Published: 2 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Various factors affect tooth loss in older age including cigarette smoking; however, evidence regarding the association between smoking and tooth loss during young adulthood is limited. The present study examined the association between cigarette smoking and tooth loss experience among adults aged 20–39 years using linked data from two national databases in Japan.

Methods

Two databases of the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) and the Survey of Dental Diseases (SDD), which were conducted in 1999, were obtained from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare with permission for analytical use. In the NNS, participants received physical examinations and were interviewed regarding dietary intake and health practices including cigarette smoking, whereas in the SDD, participants were asked about their frequency of daily brushing, and received oral examinations by certified dentists. Among 6,805 records electronically linked via household identification code, 1314 records of individuals aged 20 to 39 years were analyzed. The prevalence of 1+ tooth loss was compared among non-, former, and current smokers. Multiple logistic regression models were constructed including confounders: frequency of tooth brushing, body mass index, alcohol consumption, and intake of vitamins C and E.

Results

Smoking rates differed greatly in men (53.3%) and women (15.5%). The overall prevalence of tooth loss was 31.4% (31.8% men and 31.1% women). Tooth loss occurred more frequently among current smokers (40.6%) than former (23.1%) and non-smokers (27.9%). Current smoking showed a significant association with 1+ tooth loss in men (adjusted OR = 2.21 [1.40–3.50], P = 0.0007) and women (1.70 [1.13–2.55], P = 0.0111). A significant positive exposure-related relationship between cigarette smoking status and tooth loss was observed (P for trend < 0.0001 and 0.0004 in men and women, respectively). Current smoking was also associated with the prevalence of decayed teeth (1.67 [1.28–2.20], P = 0.0002).

Conclusion

An association between cigarette smoking and tooth loss was evident among young adults throughout Japan. Due to limitations of the available variables in the present databases, further studies including caries experience and its confounders should be conducted to examine whether smoking is a true risk of premature tooth loss in young adults.