Our Surbiton dentist takes a look at why it’s worth the effort to stop smoking.
It seems quite strange that there was a time that almost everyone smoked. Not only that, but cigarettes were advertised positively and even recommended for stress relief! Of course, we now know differently, and the link between smoking and numerous health problems is well established.
Whilst patients may well be aware of risks such as lung cancer and heart disease, we thought that we would offer our perspective, from a dental viewpoint, why we would like any patient of the Confidental Clinic who still smokes, to make a real effort not to do so.
Oral cancer – This is the most serious risk to your health from an oral health perspective. Although not the most widely known cancer, it does still cause serious problems and caused nearly two and a half thousand deaths in 2014. Our Surbiton based dentists team regularly inspects your mouth for potential symptoms during your six monthly check ups and may recommend a visit to your GP if we see something we feel may be of concern.
Gum disease – Gum disease is responsible for more tooth loss than dental decay. This happens due to the degrading of the bone in the jaw during latter stage gum disease, known as periodontitis. Smokers have been shown to have increased rates of gum disease caused both by irritation of the gums and increased harmful bacteria due to a dry mouth.
Sore and red gums – The smoke in tobacco products can irritate the gums (see above). In addition to this, any wounds or injuries, including post dental procedure ones, are likely to take longer to heal if you smoke, and infections may also occur. This is the reason that we insist that dental implant patients stop smoking for a period before and after an implant procedure, to allow it time to heal fully.
Stained and yellow teeth – Whilst some darkening of the teeth is to be expected as we get older, this can happen at any age if you smoke. The tar in cigarettes will stick to the surface, leaving teeth looking yellow, or even brown. Whilst it may be possible to rectify this with a teeth whitening procedure, dental veneers are likely to be a more effective option for very heavy, long-term smokers.
Halitosis – In addition to the risk of halitosis from advanced gum disease, the reality is that cigarette and other tobacco products smell. They smell on your breath and they smell on your clothes which is unpleasant for those around you. Although stopping smoking can be very difficult, very few people that stop regret doing so and many experience a new lease of life.
We hope that this blog has helped a few of you to make a renewed effort to quit smoking. We are here to help you look after your teeth and gums whilst you do, and, once you have quit, we are happy to discuss ways that we can help you to restore your smile to an attractive condition.
For more information, please call the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton on 020 8399 1291.