5 Good Reasons To Stop Smoking In The New Year
Our Streatham dental team discuss the damage that cigarettes can do to your health.
2020 is now here and many of us will already have forgotten about Christmas. With work and daily life back into a routine, some of us may also have already fallen back into habits that we pledged to break as New Year’s resolutions. Amongst these will be people who have started smoking again just a few days after determining to stop.
There is a good reason for this. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and this can make smoking a very difficult habit to break. Indeed, those who attempt to do so are very likely to experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. It is no surprise then, that so many people fail to quit this habit, but, as dental health professionals, we know that there are a number of good reasons why it is worth battling through the withdrawals and eventually becoming a non smoker.
Below, the Confidental Clinic team look at some of the main benefits in kicking this harmful habit.
With cigarettes now costing over £10 for a packet of twenty, even at this relatively conservative estimate, if you smoked 20 a day for a year, you would have spent £3650 during the year. We all have different tastes but we are sure that everyone can think of something they could spend that sort of money on. For example, a quick look at our dental prices page shows that you could have your teeth whitened and straightened and much more with the money saved by giving up smoking.
Personal hygiene improvement
We probably didn’t notice it as much when a lot more people smoked, but with smokers now being in the minority, it can be very noticeable when you stand near a smoker or sometimes even not that near. The smell of stale cigarette smoke that hangs around on clothing can be very powerful and definitely not very pleasant. Smokers often have bad breath too, both from the smoke and from oral health issues which we will come to shortly.
Smoking stains our teeth. If we smoke heavily and for a long period of time we are likely to find that our teeth are a shade somewhere between yellow and brown. Whilst stopping smoking won’t reverse this, it will stop it from becoming worse. Once you have stopped, you may wish to look at having your teeth whitened to restore their natural colour, or, for those whose teeth are really badly discoloured, dental veneers may be a better option. Our cosmetic dental team will be able to advise.
Smoking negatively affects many parts of our body, in fact, probably all parts, with heart and lung diseases known to be caused by smoking. As we are not doctors, we will focus on issues that we do understand fully, starting with gum disease. Gum disease is relatively common but in varying degrees. It is possible to have mild and temporary gum infections caused by poor cleaning, for example if we are ill and don’t brush as well as we should. This is often reversed as our cleaning routine returns to normal.
Early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis does cause problems including sore and bleeding gums and sometimes bad breath. It is the latter stage, known as periodontitis, where the problem becomes really serious though and can lead to many of the same symptoms as gingivitis but also causes bone degradation leading to wobbly teeth that sometimes fall out.
As gum disease is progressive, it is important to treat it during the early stages and this is best done using treatments including ‘scale and polish’ procedures carried out by the dental hygienist. Prevention is equally important and stopping smoking will play a big part in this for those that still do.
Smoking leads to a dry mouth which is likely to increase the number of potentially harmful bacteria that can lead to gum disease. The chemicals in the smoke can also lead to infections of the mouth which can lead to a variety of problems with the oral soft tissues. By giving up smoking, it is almost certain that you will notice a real improvement in your oral health.
Oral cancers can affect the mouth, head and neck. It is a serious disease that can lead to facial disfigurement, difficulty in eating and swallowing and even death in some cases. It is now an established fact that smoking is one of the main contributors to this disease. The sooner you stop smoking, the better your chances of avoiding this and we urge our Streatham patients to seek help in doing so from support groups etc. Your GP may also be able to offer helpful advice or suggest nicotine substitutes to help you to stop.
Make sure too, to continue with your regular dental checkups at the Confidental Clinic. These are an important part of your preventive care, both for your teeth and the soft tissue elements of your mouth. You can arrange an appointment with us by calling us on 020 8674 2052.