• smoking;
  • tooth loss;
  • young adults

Earlier studies have associated smoking with a higher rate of dental caries, periodontal disease and tooth loss. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine whether smoking is associated with tooth loss among young adults. The data consist of the 1966 birth cohort of Northern Finland, which is an unselected general population birth cohort (n = 12 058). The data were collected using a postal questionnaire in 1997–98 (n = 8690). Prevalence odds ratios and confidence intervals were estimated by applying a logistic regression model. It was found that smoking was associated with tooth loss in an exposure-dependent manner. The odds for those who smoked 16 or more pack-years were 5.30 (CI = 2.35–11.2) after adjustment for socio-economic and behavioral factors. Differences in socio-economic or health behavior are not likely to explain the findings since an exposure-response pattern was seen even when data was stratified according to sex, education and health-oriented lifestyle. A possible explanation for this association is a combination of treatment decisions and dental diseases, which are most likely associated with smoking in an exposure-dependent manner.