Want to Save Your Teeth? Quit Smoking!
Want to hold onto your teeth for good? Then quit smoking. Most of us know that smoking harms our health, but you may not know that smoking is also a major contributor to periodontal diseases, a group of disorders that affect the gums.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums and can affect the bone structure that supports your teeth. In severe cases, gum disease can cause your teeth to fall out. Research shows that smokers are up to six times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers, and that quitting smoking significantly improves gum disease within one year of cessation.
Smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells and suppresses the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight back against gum disease. The disease is often painless until discovered by a dentist, and many smokers are unaware of the full affect smoking can have on oral health.
Smoking can lead to other dental problems as well, including
- Bad breath
- Increased build-up of plaque and tartar
- Tooth discoloration
- Increased bone loss within the jaw
- Delayed healing following tooth extraction or oral surgery
- Lower dental implant success rate
- Increased risk of developing oral cancer
It’s not just cigarettes that are to blame for these dental woes. All forms of tobacco, including cigars, pipes and even smokeless tobacco can harm your oral health.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, but it can be tough. Here are a few ways (among many others) to win victory over tobacco.
Know and avoid triggers. Stay away from situations that encourage you to smoke. The first few days especially and even the first few months will be the hardest, so make sure you avoid tempting situations during this time.
Get a new hobby – with non-smokers. When smoking isn’t a part of what you do for fun, it makes success more likely. Keeping your mind and your hands busy with a hobby, as well as hanging around non-smokers, can make quitting smoking much easier.
Tell your family and friends you are quitting. People who care about you will try to help you, not harm you. When you become accountable to others, you secure a back-up plan.
Brush your teeth. A just-brushed mouth detests tobacco. That minty-fresh feeling can help you overcome a craving.
Find a substitute. Keep hard candy, gum, sunflower seeds, mints or carrot sticks handy to stave off your next craving.
The dentists at Montee and Montee Dental know just how crucial it is to your oral health that you quit smoking. To learn more about the hazardous effects of smoking on your gums, or to make an appointment, contact us at 615-784-5359.