Tomorrow, November 19th, is the Great American Smokeout! This day gives smokers around the country a chance to quit with the knowledge that thousands of other Americans are doing it too. Smoking can be a tough habit to break but with some support and understanding of the benefits it can be much easier!
At New Albany Implants we encourage all our patients to kick smoking for good. It’s a dangerous habit for your body and it also has serious effects on your oral health as well. By kicking the habit you can drastically reduce your risks for oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay. Don’t take chances with your oral health when preserving it can be easy simply by eliminating tobacco!
The Oral Health Effects Of Smoking
Smoking can be deadly to your teeth because of the way it changes the balance of your oral bacteria. All of us have countless bacteria in our mouths, and healthy non-smokers have over 300 different varieties. Many of those varieties are perfectly harmless but there’s also a bunch of strains that cause damage in the form of tooth decay and gum disease.
Studies of the mouths of smokers and nonsmokers revealed a startling fact about the bacteria levels in their mouths: smokers had far less harmless bacteria and an overwhelming level of the harmful kind. It turns out tobacco use actually kills the harmless bacteria, leaving the dangerous stuff behind to take over your mouth and greatly increase your oral health risks!
Oral bacteria exists in the form of plaque – that sticky white stuff on your teeth. The harmful bacteria that exists in higher counts for smokers eats sugar, transforming it into acid that destroys your teeth and harms your gums.
Over time that acid will eat away at the enamel of your teeth, causing deep cavities that can lead to root canals or a need for extraction. While that’s a concern for smokers the biggest risk is from gum disease, which happens when plaque bacteria makes its way beneath your gums.
Gum disease causes inflammation, gum recession, bone loss, and eventual destruction of your teeth. If it isn’t treated then you can be relatively sure that teeth will be lost, a condition that is easily avoided by smoking cessation and regular oral health care!
Quitting Smoking: How To Make It Happen
There are a lot of ways to increase your chances of quitting smoking for good. These are just a few that can help increase your chances.
- Have a quit buddy. That person doesn’t need to be a smoker but they should be someone that you can trust to keep you accountable and on track. You can talk to them when things get tough or when you just need an ear – anything to stay away from tobacco!
- Make sure that all your friends and family know you’re intending to quit. Having nowhere to hide your habit can make quitting a lot easier.
- Avoid triggers like coffee, alcohol, or other things that normally increase your craving for a cigarette. Once you know you’re over the hurdle you can go back to drinking coffee and alcohol but it’s best to avoid them until you’re sure.
- Have some healthy snacks around for those times when cravings get bad. If you reach for a carrot stick or something else that’s good for you it can make the urge to smoke pass and it’s also great for your health!
- Don’t wean yourself off tobacco – quit cold turkey. Numerous studies have shown that simply stopping is the best way to ensure success! It will definitely be hard for the first few days but your body and your smile will thank you later on!
You Can Do It!
For the sake of your body, mind, and teeth you should really consider participating in this year’s Great American Smokeout. Tomorrow is the big day so jump in with both feet and get yourself feeling better! Once you’ve quit for good make sure you schedule an appointment so that we can be sure your teeth and gums are in good shape!