How Smoking Affects Your Teeth
The effects of smoking have been the focus of health campaigns for many years now. Campaigns often focus on lung and heart problems linked to smoking.
While the effects of tobacco on your lungs and heart may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind, the effects on your oral health are left on display each time you flash a smile. Smoking contributes towards many dental problems including, but not limited to the following:
- Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer, which can progresses rapidly and can be deadly if not diagnosed and treated early.
- Smoking also increases the risk of gum disease, one of the leading causes of adult tooth decay and loss.
- Smoking tends to delay healing after oral surgery.
- Smoking damages gum tissue, causing receding gums, temperature sensitivity and eventual tooth loss.
- Smoking can cause bad breath.
- Smoking affects the senses of taste and smell.
Even if you're not inhaling, you are still at risk of developing many of these issues. While smoke is detrimental to your lungs, your oral health is more vulnerable to the toxins in cigarettes and cigars as they increase the risk of oral cancer and gum disease. Even 'smokeless' tobaccos contain these toxins.
The only way of protecting your tooth and gums is quitting smoking all together.
Here are a few tips to help with your quitting process:
Gaining weight is inevitable when you quit smoking. According to the smoking cessation program at Ottawa Heart Institute, a smoker's metabolism is 2-3% faster than a non-smoker. In order to combat the weight gain, going for a walk, joining the gym, or starting any other physical activity that you may enjoy will help bridge the gap and provide countless other positive benefits.
- Eat healthy food and snacks
Eating lots of fresh food, vegetables, and whole grain foods help with keeping you full and energized to last through the day. Not only that, these foods also add to a healthy living lifestyle.
- Ask your loved ones for support
Tell your friends, family, and people you're close with that you're trying to quit smoking. This builds a support system that may help you every time you are tempted to light a smoke.
- Reward yourself
One of the reasons people smoke is because it helps them relax. Once you quit smoking, you can use money saved to reward yourself and relax by getting a monthly massage, starting a new hobby, or going to a show.
- Drink plenty of water
Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day to flush the nicotine out of your system. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine, especially in the first few weeks of quitting because these trigger the need to light a smoke and make you more nervous and anxious.
- Try Again
Quitting smoking is not easy. There may be times when you relapse. And that's okay. Recognize the road to quitting smoking is a long and bumpy one. A University of Toronto research study suggests it may take a smoker 30 attempts or more to go a full year without any cigarettes. Don't feel discouraged. Instead, think of what pushed you to light that cigarette and work on those reasons.
If you need more help or suggestions with quitting or want to assess the consequences on your oral health, contact us today.