If you’re trying to quit smoking, you may wonder if your oral health will improve as a result. The good news is that, yes, your teeth and mouth will likely get better. In this blog, your dentist in Tuscaloosa tells you what to expect when you stop smoking and how to make sure your mouth stays healthy as long as possible after you’ve kicked the habit once and for all.
The Great American Smokeout
The third Thursday each November is recognized as The Great American Smokeout. Its mission is to encourage smokers to pick that day as the day they start working towards a smoke-free lifestyle. So this November, we want to encourage all of our patients and neighbors to pick a date to quit smoking or to support a friend or family member in their quitting journey. Quitting smoking has numerous benefits for overall health and oral health, and together, we can help protect each other from the dangers of smoking.
Quitting Can Help Oral Health
It’s probably no surprise that smokers are at increased risk for several health problems, such as cancer and heart disease. However, they’re also at increased risk for developing oral health problems, including:
- Gum disease
- Dry mouth
- Tooth discoloration
- Bad breath
- Tooth loss
- Oral cancer
But there’s good news. Quitting smoking can essentially help reduce or reverse the negative health effects of smoking, even if you’ve smoked for a while. The American Cancer Society lists several whole-body benefits of quitting, but your dentist in Tuscaloosa wants to highlight a few additional reasons why quitting is best.
Quitting Can Save Smiles — And Lives
No matter how long you’ve smoked, you can benefit from quitting. In fact, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of not only gum disease and tooth loss, but even oral cancer. Study after study shows that quitting smoking can reduce the risk of developing or the progression of gum disease. Researchers also found that if smokers kept smoking, they have an estimated 80% higher risk for bone loss and gum disease than non-smokers. Quitting can also lower the risk of oral cancer, heart disease, and other problems.
Tips to Quit Smoking
There are numerous methods for quitting smoking. Some may work better than others in certain people, so it’s important to continue to try and find a method that works for you. Some tips to quit include:
- Stick With Support
Quitting is hard, but it can be easier with a support system. Tap on friends, family, or professional resources to help support you through the tough times.
- Stay Busy & Avoid Triggers
Some people smoke when they’re bored. Others have specific triggers that cause them to light up. Whatever your situation is, try your best to avoid anything that may make you want to smoke. This may mean avoiding alcohol or other friends who smoke for a period of time.
- Setbacks Are Ok
Quitting smoking is really, really hard. Setbacks may happen. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you do have a setback. As long as you get back up and keep trying.
It’s never too late to quit smoking, and your dentist in Tuscaloosa is here to help. Make sure you’re honest about any tobacco habits at your appointments and get a dental checkup at least twice a year. We want you to have the healthiest smile and body possible, so let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.