Document Type


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School of Dentistry


Dental Practice & Rural Health


Purpose. Dental hygienists, dentists, and other workforce providers who depend upon their hands for employment are acutely aware of the need to protect their hands to ensure a successful career. Recent research has suggested that smoking may be protective of hand osteoarthritis. The purpose of this study is to determine the association between smoking and Heberden’s nodes. Methods. Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative were used in a cross-sectional, secondary data analysis of self-reported current smoking/never smoking and the presence/absence of Heberden’s nodes, the hard enlargements of the joints nearest the fingertips (distal interphalangeal joints). Analyses included descriptive statistics, Chi-square associations with Heberden’s nodes, and logistic regressions. Results. In adjusted analysis, smoking had an adjusted odds ratio for Heberden’s nodes of 0.832 [95% confidence interval: 0.60, 1.14] which failed to reach significance (). In the selected model, females were more likely than males to have Heberden’s nodes; non-Hispanic Blacks were less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to have Heberden’s nodes; and older age groups were more likely than the youngest age group to have Heberden’s nodes. Conclusion. Smoking did not provide protection against Heberden’s nodes in this study of US participants in the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

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