Today is the Start of the Rest of your Life

 In Dental health, Dr Kate Hughes

TODAY is National No Smoking Day! What does this mean? This successful health awareness day has taken place annually on the second Wednesday in March since its inception in 1984. #tellusyourway is this year’s social media campaign hashtag, aiming to encourage those who have successfully kicked the habit to share those stories with smokers.

Quitting now can significantly reduce your risk of gum disease, tooth loss and many other oral health problems, no matter how long you have you have been using tobacco products. Your body will also respond to gum disease treatment far more effectively, as your body is now able to heal more rapidly from injury or infection. Quitting will also have a positive impact on your freshness of breath and will stop the onslaught of tooth-staining nicotine from yellowing your teeth any further. You will have the option to whiten your teeth using a method from the array of treatments available, and keep them that way!

So… are you ready? Research suggests that 1 in 10 smokers actually manage to quit on No Smoking Day, inspired by the community support and plethora of information and guidance available to help you kick the habit. This is a day to really recognise that quitting is an achievable goal. Tell yourself you can do it and give yourself a quit date you know you’ll stick to.

It is always a positive process to remind yourself of the advantages to quitting. Despite the benefits being common knowledge, this instils a sense of purpose and keeps your head in the game. This is an expensive, life-threatening habit that controls you. With regards to your teeth, you are probably suffering from increased plaque and tartar, which builds up and leads to decay. Twice as many cases of tooth loss and infected roots are reported in smokers. It is harder to fight infection as a smoker, because the immune system is weakened. This means that smokers are up to 6 times more likely to develop gum disease and mouth cancers compared to non-smokers. As a smoker, you may feel like your teeth and gums are in good shape but this could simply be an illusion created by nicotine. Nicotine can actually mask symptoms of gum disease and prevent healing by shutting down your blood vessels. Over time, the blood supply to your gums decreases. When you stop smoking, nicotine is no longer hitting your mouth, so with increased vascularity you may find that your gums bleed more frequently for a while… but don’t panic! This simply means that your symptoms of inflammation are no longer being masked and steps can be taken to get your dental health back on the road to recovery. Also remind yourself of the additional money in the pocket… all that money you would have spent on your smoking habit could buy you a wonderful holiday!

Your health is so important. You cannot enjoy life to its fullest potential while living under a ticking time bomb. Regain your freedom and take back control. You can and you will kick this habit once and for all. We believe in you!

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