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It’s never too late to quit smoking!

10-03-2020

No Smoking Day is an annual health awareness day in the United Kingdom which is intended to help smokers who want to quit smoking. It takes place on the second Wednesday in March. Research has found that 1 in 10 smokers quit on No Smoking Day.

There’s never a better time to quit smoking than right now. Your health will start to improve as soon as you quit smoking no matter how long you’ve smoked for. So, the sooner you quit smoking, the sooner you’ll start noticing changes to your body and health.

 It’s never too late to stop smoking, and many health benefits will happen quicker than you think.

Many people do not realize the damage that smoking does to their mouth, gums and teeth.

Smoking leads to dental problems as well, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Inflammation of the salivary gland
  • Increased build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth
  • Increased loss of bone within the jaw
  • Increased risk of leukoplakia, white patches inside the mouth
  • Increased risk of developing gum disease, a leading cause of tooth loss
  • Delayed healing process following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or oral surgery
  • Lower success rate of dental implant procedures
  • Increased risk of developing oral cancer

One of the effects of smoking is staining on the teeth due to the nicotine and tar. It can make your teeth yellow in a very short time, and with heavy smokers, their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking.

Smoking can also lead to gum disease. Gum disease is still the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. People who smoke produce more bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. Smoking also causes lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums does not heal. Smokers have more dental plaque build-up and causes gum disease to get worse more quickly than in non-smokers.

People who smoke are more likely to have bad breath than non-smokers. Mouthwashes may help to disguise the problem in the short term, but will not cure it.

Most people still don’t know smoking is one of the main causes of mouth cancer too. Every year thousands of people die from mouth cancer brought on by smoking.

Is smokeless tobacco safer than cigarettes?

No, they contain at least 28 chemicals that have been shown to increase the risk of oral cancer and cancer of the throat and oesophagus.

In fact, chewing tobacco contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes, making it harder to quit.

Smokeless tobacco can also irritate your gum tissue, causing it to recede or pull away from your teeth. Once the gum tissue recedes, your teeth roots become exposed, creating an increased risk of tooth decay. Exposed roots are also more sensitive to hot and cold or other irritants, making eating and drinking uncomfortable.

In addition, sugars, which are often added to enhance the flavour of smokeless tobacco, can increase your risk for tooth decay. It also typically contains sand and grit, which can wear down your teeth.

Statistics from the Cancer Society states that:

  • About 90% of people with cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat use tobacco. Smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop these cancers.
  • About 37% of patients who persist in smoking after apparent cure of their cancer will develop second cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, compared with only 6% of those who stop smoking.

How often should I visit my dentist?

It is very important that you visit your dentist regularly for a full mouth examination so that any other conditions can be spotted early.

Your dentist will carry out a regular examination to make sure that your teeth and gums and whole mouth are healthy. They will also examine your cheeks, tongue and throat for any signs of other conditions that may need more investigation.

They may also be able to put you in touch with organisations and self-help groups who will have the latest information to help you stop smoking.

Your dentist may also refer you to a dental hygienist for thorough cleaning and to keep a closer check on the health of your mouth. People who smoke are more likely to have stained teeth, and therefore may need frequent appointments with the dental hygienist. Your dental hygienist will also be able to advise you on how often you should visit them, although this should usually be every three to six months.

Ready to quit?

With the right support, you’re 4 times more likely to quit for good!

Smoking cessation classes and support groups are offered through local hospitals in your community. Ask your doctor or dentist for information on similar programs they may be familiar with.

https://quitnow.smokefree.nhs.uk/