University of Oulu

Similä, T., Auvinen, J., Timonen, M. et al. Long-term effects of smoking on tooth loss after cessation among middle-aged Finnish adults: the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study. BMC Public Health 16, 867 (2016).

Long-term effects of smoking on tooth loss after cessation among middle-aged Finnish adults : the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study

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Author: Similä, Toni1,2; Auvinen, Juha2,3; Timonen, Markku3;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5281, Oulu, FIN-90014, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
3Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2016
Publish Date: 2020-05-20


Background: Despite smoking cessation efforts, cigarette smoking remains a serious general and oral health problem. We aimed to investigate the putative benefits of smoking cessation on dentition and to analyse whether the time elapsed since smoking cessation associated positively with the remaining number of teeth.

Methods: This cross-sectional study analyses data from the 46-year follow-up of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort Study 1966 (NFBC1966). A total of 5 540 subjects participated in this cross-sectional study, which utilises both clinical dental examinations and mailed questionnaires. We used the following information on smoking: status (current, former, never), years of smoking (current, former) and years elapsed since smoking cessation (former). Self-reported and clinically measured number of teeth (including third molars) served as alternative outcomes. We used binary logistic regression models to analyse the dichotomised number of teeth (‘0–27’, ’28–32’) and then calculated unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (OR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for the smoking variables (never smoker as the reference). Gender, education, tooth brushing frequency, diabetes and alcohol use served as confounders for the adjusted models.

Results: Ten years or more of smoking associated with tooth loss; this effect was the strongest among men who reported having an ongoing smoking habit (self-reported outcome: adjusted OR = 1.74, CI = 1.40–2.16) and the weakest among women classified as former smokers (self-reported outcome: adjusted OR = 1.27, CI = 1.00–1.62).

Conclusions: This study shows that smoking has long-term effects on tooth loss even after cessation. The findings support smoking cessation efforts to reduce oral health risks.

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Series: BMC public health
ISSN: 1471-2458
ISSN-E: 1471-2458
ISSN-L: 1471-2458
Volume: 16
Article number: 867
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3556-1
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 313 Dentistry
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: NFBC1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 24000692, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 24301140, ERDF European Regional Development Fund Grant no. 539/2010 A31592.
Copyright information: © 2016 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.