Purpose: To examine the relationship between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and oral pigmentation in schoolchildren.
Materials and Methods: Oral photographs of 117 systemically healthy, nonsmoking children and young adults (aged
10 to 21 years) were randomly selected from two rural schools. Closed-ended questionnaires were designed for this
age group and used to record answers given by the subjects. The subjects were divided into two groups based on age:
group 1 (10 to 14 years) and group 2 (15 to 21 years). There were 58 subjects in group 1 and 59 in group 2. Gingival
pigmentation was classified using the Melanin Index Score (MIS) into MIS-0 (no pigmentation), MIS-1 (solitary unit(s)
of pigmentation in papillary gingiva) and MIS-2 (continuous band extending from 2 neighbouring solitary units).
Results: In group 1, 17.24% of subjects displayed MIS-0 compared to only 5.08% in group 2. The difference between
the groups was found to be statistically significant according to Student’s t-test (p < 0.001). In group 2, 38.98% of
subjects showed MIS-2 as compared to only 17.24% subjects in group 1.
Conclusion: Despite the relatively small sample size, the results of the present study confirmed previously reported
findings that ETS has an influence on both the prevalence and the severity of gingival pigmentation.