Smoking, Kids, and Cavities
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Smoking, Kids, and Cavities

Secondhand smoke has been blamed for many respiratory ailments in children, now learn about another risk -- cavities.

Among 3,531 kids ages 4 through 11, those exposed to secondhand smoke were 50 percent likelier to need dental fillings, says a recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The cavity connection? Secondhand smoke impairs the formation of tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay, says Andrew Aligne, M.D., the study's lead researcher and founder of Pediathink, a children's health think tank in Rochester, New York. This finding is just the latest in a long string of studies that shows secondhand smoke is harmful to kids, says Dr. Aligne. The other adverse effects? Babies and children exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher incidence of asthma, ear infections and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

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