Smoking and Your Oral Health

The new year is quickly approaching and many minds have already started thinking about resolutions. One of the most common resolutions among Americans is to quit smoking, which everyone at Miami Dental Sedation Spa thinks is awesome! Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 42.1 million people smoke cigarettes in the United States alone? Smoking has been proven to cause many types of cancer, heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke. It also can agitate existing health issues like pneumonia and asthma, can cause wounds to take longer to health, and has the potential to disrupt the immune system. In addition (yes, there’s more), smoking can cause a number of oral health issues. Consider these side effects, along with all of the other negative effects of smoking, when deciding if it’s a habit worth sticking to in 2015.

According to a Colgate resource, smoking can cause oral health issues that include bad breath, stained teeth and tongue, and a dulled sense of taste and smell. Because smoking can decrease the effectiveness of one’s immunity, smokers often have weaker defenses against infections, such as gum disease. And if you have to have a tooth extracted or another surgical procedure, your healing time will be longer. Smokers also tend to have more oral health problems that include mouth sores and ulcers. Cavities and tooth loss may also be more prevalent as cigarettes prevent the body from fending off plaque, allowing tarter to build up on teeth easier. But aside from these “minor” health problems, oral cancer is a huge consideration. Smoking increases your chance of developing cancer in the lips, tongue, mouth, throat, salivary glands, and tonsils, which if not diagnosed and treated quickly, could cost you your life.

Nicotine products are very difficult to quit because they contain highly addictive ingredients. While quitting “cold turkey” may be the approach you’d like to take, it’s true that many struggle with this method, ultimately failing. Fortunately, there are several tools available to help you quit. In addition to nicotine patches, gum and prescription medication, consider cutting back on your sugar intake. This will allow you to better protect yourself from the bacteria that cigarettes already make it harder to fight against. Your dentist is a great professional to discuss quitting with as they can help you develop a plan of attack to overcome this bad habit and recover from the negative effects that have already taken a toll on your body. If you’ve been thinking about quitting, there’s no time like the present. If not now, when?

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