Periodontal Disease and Secondhand Smoke

We have known for many years that smokers have a higher risk of gum disease.  In 2004 the US Surgeon General stated that scientific evidence was sufficient to conclude that there was a causal relationship between tobacco and periodontal disease.  But recently, researchers at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill concluded that even exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke increased risk for the disease.  Exposure to secondhand smoke for several hours a day can double the risk of severe periodontal disease.  People exposed to secondhand smoke for 25 hours or less every week had a 29% increased chance of the disease and for people who were exposed to more than 26 hours the odds were two times higher.  The study is in the American Journal of Public Health and can be found at

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