Background: Betel quid chewing is associated with the periodontal status; however, results of epidemiological studies are inconsistent. To the best of our knowledge, no study has reported radiographic alveolar bone loss (RABL) associated with betel quid chewing. Methods: This survey was conducted in an aboriginal community in Taiwan because almost all betel quid chewers were city-dwelling cigarette smokers. In total, 114 subjects, aged 30-60 years, were included. Full-mouth intraoral RABL was retrospectively measured and adjusted for age, gender, and plaque index (PI). Multiple regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between RABL and potential risk factors. Results: Age-, gender-, and PI-adjusted mean RABL was significantly higher in chewers with or without cigarette smoking than in controls. Multiple regression analysis showed that the RABL for consumption of 100,000 pieces betel quid for the chewer group was 0.40 mm. Full-mouth plotted curves for adjusted mean RABL in the maxilla were similar between the chewer and control groups, suggesting that chemical effects were not the main factors affecting the association between betel quid chewing and the periodontal status. Conclusion: Betel quid chewing significantly increases RABL. The main contributory factors are age and oral hygiene; however, the major mechanism underlying this process may not be a chemical mechanism. Regular dental visits, maintenance of good oral hygiene, and reduction in the consumption of betel quid, additives, and cigarettes are highly recommended to improve the periodontal status.
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