November is a great month to begin your journey to quitting smoking and tobacco. Not only is it a month that includes the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event, third Thursday of November, but why wait till the new year to set some resolutions. By the way, even if you missed the event, you can still visit their website at anytime for some great resources.
This set of facts from the Great American Smokeout site really needs to be seen. “About 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 17% in 2014), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there’s no “safe” way to smoke tobacco.”
Dr. Randy Feldman, Chief Smile Officer reminds us that “it shouldn’t be a surprise that cigarettes and tobacco products are also harmful to oral health.” Tobacco products can cause bad breath, but that’s only the beginning.
Oral health impacts of smoking and tobacco products include:
- stained teeth and tongue
- dulled sense of taste and smell
- slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
- difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
- gum disease
- oral cancer
Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of the issues above, two of which can be fatal. The addictive effects of nicotine don’t make quitting an easy venture, that’s why it’s important to have a plan and a support network, people to help you stick to your plan. Talk to your dentist or doctor to see if the medications available would help you to stop using tobacco.
In writing this blog, we also came across something very timely on the American Lung Association website, 5 Tips to Get Through the Holidays without Smoking. This easily relates to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and all of your end-of-year fun. We encourage you to read it further, but in short: 1) Have a plan, 2) Expect and resist your urges, 3) Change up your routine, 4) Remember, this too shall pass, and 5) Don’t go it alone.