Is there anyone who doesn’t know smoking is bad for your health? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S., including more than 40,000 caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoking causes numerous health problems including:
- Heart Disease
- Lung Diseases
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
If you’re a smoker, we hope you’ll resolve to quit in 2019. We want you to enjoy a long and healthy life! Smoking is bad for your dental health too, so you’ll also get a healthier smile if you stop smoking. While we can repair cavities and treat gum disease, it’s easier and less expensive to prevent those problems from occurring.
Smoking Is Bad for Your Gums & the Rest of Your Mouth
According to research published in 2015, male smokers were 3.6 times more likely to lose teeth than non-smokers while female smokers were 2.5 times more likely to experience tooth loss. Researchers said smoking played an especially significant role in gum disease, as it helped conceal common symptoms. If not treated in the early stages, gum disease leads to tooth loss.
Smoking makes it tougher to treat gum disease. In fact, it reduces your entire body’s ability to fight infection. It also slows the growth of blood vessels, which means it will take you longer to heal after any dental injury or oral surgery. It can also make it tougher to replace teeth with restorations like dental implants and/or dental bridges. That’s because a smoker’s jaw and surrounding teeth are often in worse shape than those of a non-smoker.
Finally, smoking affects how others feel about your smile. It stains your teeth and gives you smokers’ breath.
Smoking Alternatives Are Bad Too
You know smoking is bad, of course. But what about alternatives to cigarettes? They are often presented as being better for you and/or less likely to affect those around you.
One such alternative is smokeless tobacco, or chewing tobacco. This habit is linked to a variety of cancers, including cancer of the esophagus, colon, and bladder; chewing creates toxins that are then swallowed. It also irritates your gums, which increases your risk of gum disease. Since sugar is often added to enhance flavor, it increases your risk of tooth decay too.
A trend that is really taking off, especially among young people, is e-cigarettes or vaping devices. Users inhale vaporized flavored liquid, that may or may not contain nicotine. According to the FDA, the number of high school students who vape grew 78 percent from 2017 to 2018. E-liquids contain toxins like diethylene glycol, which is also used in antifreeze. Not surprisingly, this dries out and irritates your mouth. At the very least, this makes you more prone to cavities and gum disease. As we learn more about vaping, it is likely worse effects will be discovered.
Ready to Quit Smoking? These Tips Can Help
Your big decision will be whether to reduce your intake gradually or to go “cold turkey.” Research has shown that neither method is superior; it’s best to use the one that suits your personal style. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to quit before, think about what worked for you and what didn’t. You may want to use nicotine replacement therapy, like patches or gum.
Regardless of which method you use, the American Cancer Society recommends:
- Getting rid of cigarettes, ashtrays, and other things that remind you of smoking
- Considering joining a stop-smoking group
- Using oral substitutes, such as hard candy, sugarless gum, or carrot sticks
- Identifying people to give you support, like a family member who has successfully quit
- Asking friends and family who are smokers to not smoke around you
We’re happy to help in any way we can! Call 1st In Smiles in Plano, TX today at 972-380-8105.