Are You Planning To Quit Smoking In The New Year?
Here are two very good reasons why you should
2020 is now properly under way and next Christmas seems a long way off. Some of you will have probably started your new year resolutions, whilst others may have already failed to keep theirs. Amongst them all, there is one New Year’s resolution that we would encourage patients of the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich to keep, or to make if you haven’t already done so, and that is to stop smoking.
It may not be the easiest of resolutions to keep, especially if you are a long term smoker, but there are many benefits to doing so, not least the amount of money that you will save. From an oral health perspective though, there are two very real issues that smoking is regularly associated with.
People who smoke tend to have poorer levels of oral health than non smokers. Infections are more likely due to the irritants in the smoke which find their way into the tiniest of cuts and grazes, often making the situation worse. More commonly linked to smoking though is gum disease. Smoking can leave the mouth very dry and this provides an ideal breeding ground for potentially harmful oral bacteria that can lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Whilst both of these are treatable, it is at the latter stage of periodontitis that the most serious problems arise. This is difficult to treat and may require a ‘root scaling procedure’ to be carried out by a periodontist. Even with this treatment, there is still a risk of tooth loss where the problem is too far advanced.
Even relatively minor cases of gum disease can lead to uncomfortable inflamed gum tissue and bad breath can also occur. Stopping smoking, cleaning your teeth well and seeing a dental hygienist every six months should help to keep the risk of gum disease under control.
Even more serious than gum disease is oral cancer, with smoking being one of the biggest contributors to this potentially fatal disease. Even when successfully treated, it can result in facial disfigurement and difficulties with speaking and swallowing. Dentists now check, as a matter of routine, for any irregularities of the soft tissue of the mouth during your 6 monthly check up at our Greenwich dental practice. Any irregularities that are found will need to be further investigated by your GP. Patients should remember that this is a precautionary measure and we are unable to indicate either way whether the problem is cancerous or not.
The truth is that this issue is very real and can be distressing and potentially life threatening. The best way to minimise your chances of suffering from oral cancer is to stop smoking. The sooner you do so, the better.
We do appreciate that stopping smoking can be very difficult for habitual smokers, but it really is worth the effort. A good local support group or seeking professional help may make the transition from smoker to non smoker that much easier.
Your oral health is important and a 6 monthly appointment for a check up is essential to monitor it and provide any treatment where necessary. If you would like to make an appointment with us, please call the Confidental Clinic on 020 8858 1422.